New Report Show Courts Denying Large Majority of Pregnant Workers Accommodations; Congress Must Act to Fix Federal Law
New York—In time for Mother’s Day, A Better Balance released a new report, “Long Overdue,” detailing the numerous ways pregnant workers are still routinely jeopardizing their health—and economic security—when denied medically necessary reasonable accommodations. The report highlights that, in spite of Young v. UPS, the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision that set new standards for pregnant workers’ federal protections, today’s pregnant workers, especially women in low-wage and physically demanding jobs, are still forced to choose between a paycheck and a healthy pregnancy.
“Our comprehensive and first-of-its-kind review of relevant cases found that more than two-thirds of women needing accommodations while pregnant lost their court cases under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act,” Dina Bakst, co-founder and co-president of A Better Balance said of the report. “This is simply unacceptable. For full and equal treatment under the law, women need the federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.”
Post-Young, pregnant women are facing three main problems in these cases: the comparator problem, in which pregnant workers must show other employees are being accommodated by their employer in order to obtain their own accommodations; the “significant burden” problem in which pregnant workers are forced to discredit their employer’s justification for failing to accommodate them under a confusing legal standard; and the costly and time-consuming litigation problem, whereby most pregnant workers simply cannot afford to wait for medically necessary accommodations they need immediately.
Drawing on the voices of state legislators and business leaders, “Long Overdue” also provides detailed, original analysis of the bi-partisan movement across the country (25 states—including Kentucky (2019), South Carolina (2018)— and five cities) to require some employers to provide pregnancy accommodations, but finds state-by-state change is not enough.
The “Long Overdue” report underscores the need for federal policy reform in favor of pregnant workers to adequately address the needs that continue to go unmet in spite of Young v. UPS, and recommends an encompassing and existing solution: the federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.
Media interested in the report should reach out to Melanie Fonder Kaye firstname.lastname@example.org or at 414-708-2525.
About A Better Balance
A Better Balance is a national legal advocacy organization dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace and has been a leader at the national, state, and local level in advancing the rights of pregnant workers and mothers in the workplace.