Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA - H.R. 2694) in a strong bipartisan vote. The PWFA would provide an explicit right for pregnant workers to request reasonable accommodations to stay healthy and safe in the workplace, unless it would constitute an undue hardship on the employer.
On July 14, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed into law the Colorado Healthy Families and Workplaces Act, which guarantees workers the right to earn paid sick time. A Better Balance was thrilled to play a pivotal role in the campaign. The victory in Colorado is especially significant given the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis. Paid sick leave has been shown to improve public health, reduce the spread of contagion, and provide a critical safety net to workers who are struggling to make ends meet.
Today, A Better Balance released a new report, “Misled & Misinformed,” detailing how the strict, “points-based” or “no fault” attendance policies favored by some of the country’s biggest employers—including Walmart and Tyson Foods—routinely violate workers’ rights. As businesses reopen and the public health threat posed by COVID-19 remains, these abusive attendance policies mean that despite important workplace civil rights laws, workers on the frontlines are forced to choose between their health and safety, and their job.
On June 15, the Colorado General Assembly passed SB 205, which will guarantee that workers across the state can earn a modest amount of paid sick leave. The bill will allow workers to care for themselves or a family member when sick or experiencing domestic abuse or sexual assault. Colorado joins 12 states, Washington D.C., and dozens of cities in establishing a basic legal right to paid sick time.
Pregnant workers represented by co-counsel A Better Balance, Mehri & Skalet, PLLC and the National Women’s Law Center announced that on April 29, 2020, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois approved a settlement in the amount of $14 million in the matter of Borders v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., No. 3:17-cv-0506 (S.D. Ill.). The settlement pays for claims by pregnant workers that they had requested but were denied workplace accommodations at Walmart between March 19, 2013 and March 5, 2014.
In an open letter released today, A Better Balance, Oxfam, and other labor and health advocacy leaders call on the poultry industry to put into place stronger safety measures and protections for its workers. The recent alarming news that COVID-19 is spreading in poultry plants has highlighted the urgent need for action to ensure the U.S.'s 250,000 poultry workers—who are too often overlooked and undervalued—can stay healthy while supporting themselves and their families and keeping the nation fed.
A Better Balance applauds Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature for swiftly reaching an agreement on a bill that will ensure millions of working families in New York are provided job protection and economic security amidst the COVID-19 public health crisis, and beyond. In this time of crisis, the new law will help New Yorkers to follow New York State’s and the CDC’s recommendations to protect their own health and the health of their loved ones, while also protecting the health of the public as a whole.
A Better Balance urges Congress to swiftly pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act—a critical measure which will protect the health and economic security of workers and families across the country, providing them with permanent paid sick leave, and temporary emergency paid sick leave and emergency paid family and medical leave.
The EEOC recently issued a determination finding probable cause that Walmart's attendance policy violated the rights of Walmart workers under the ADA. The letter was made public by Virginia James, an A Better Balance client and disability rights advocate, in her Medium post published today: “Walmart’s Attendance Policy Penalizes Workers With Disabilities Like Me. The EEOC Agrees.” The determination is timely for those workers with disabilities who may feel particularly vulnerable during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
TIME writes: "At a time when there are more women than men in the U.S. workforce, Bakst says implementing fair work-life standards—including pregnancy accommodations, paid sick days, paid family and medical leave, and quality affordable childcare—is more important than ever: 'It’s absolutely essential for gender equality and for our nation’s economic security.'"