We support legislators and advocates across the nation—from Oregon to Tennessee, from Wisconsin to Washington, DC. We research, draft, and testify in support of bills that will help working people care for themselves and their loved ones without risking their paychecks.
Our efforts have helped millions of people, guaranteeing vital protections like paid sick time, paid family and medical leave, and pregnancy accommodations. Because of our work:
30 states and 5 cities have passed explicit protections for pregnant workers who need modest accommodations to stay healthy and employed.
More than 19 million workers who previously did not have a single paid sick day are now covered by a paid sick time law.
Over 15 million workers have access to paid family and medical leave, allowing them to care for a new child or seriously ill family member or to recover from their own serious health condition.
And, sparked by an ABB op-ed published in the New York Times, Congress introduced the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which would make it clear that employers cannot force pregnant workers off the job or deny them reasonable accommodations. We will not rest until this important measure becomes law.
Through our free and confidential legal helpline, we provide advice and legal support to the most vulnerable workers. People call us when they need resources to advocate for their workplace rights, a free lawyer to help them get their job back after taking sick time, or when they have been illegally forced off the job after announcing their pregnancy.
Since we introduced our hotline in 2009, we have fielded calls in both English and Spanish from thousands of workers and helped hundreds keep their job. Through this service, we’ve met our most courageous clients and passionate advocates for change.
Clients like Takirah, who had a high-risk pregnancy and was forced off her job because her employer refused to provide her with a modest accommodation. After we contacted Takirah’s employer, they offered her a higher paying lighter duty position for the remainder of her pregnancy.
And Anthony, whose employer gave him disciplinary points and withheld his pay after he took three sick days, one to care for his mother and two for his own illness. We represented Anthony and got relief for him and 159 other workers, totaling more than $60,000.
As a legal organization, we work around the country to ensure that laws protecting workers are not only passed but also enforced. And when we hear from workers whose rights have been violated, we file legal actions on their behalf in cases that will have maximum impact.
We are not afraid to take on industry giants, enforcing the law and zealously advocating for our clients when we learn of egregious workplace violations.
In 2020, a federal court approved a settlement in the amount of $14 million in a nationwide class action lawsuit. 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. The class of pregnant workers were represented by co-counsel A Better Balance, Mehri & Skalet, PLLC and the National Women’s Law Center.
After A Better Balance published a report, Misled & Misinformed, about the harmful impact that “no fault” attendance policies at major companies have on low-wage workers and sent letters to key companies mentioned in the report asking them to make their policies available publicly in order to ensure that the policies are compliant with the law, Senator Elizabeth Warren launched a Congressional inquiry about abusive employer attendance policies. Senator Warren sent letters to five of the country’s largest employers — FedEx, Walmart, Conagra, 3M, and Kroger.
In 2018, 1.5 million Walmart workers received much-needed relief following our legal actions challenging pregnancy discrimination and unfair policies punishing medical absences when the retail giant changed its pregnancy accommodation policy. We are still fighting to end abusive attendance policies for all. A Better Balance filed several charges against Walmart with the EEOC on behalf of our clients in 2017 following the release of our report, Pointing Out: How Walmart Unlawfully Punishes Workers for Medical Absences. The EEOC launched a systemic investigation lasting years and in 2020 issued a determination finding probable cause that Walmart’s attendance policy violated the rights of Walmart workers under the ADA, as described in ABB’s Pointing Out report.
Similarly, when governments threaten to block or repeal progressive workplace laws, or when they are challenged in court, we step in on behalf of working people to protect and defend their rights. A Better Balance not only writes and passes laws that help workers to care for themselves and their loved ones, but we’re committed to successfully implementing, defending, and enforcing them as well.
We provide vital workplace rights information to workers and their advocates through our website, social media, publications, searchable databases, in-person trainings, and public speaking engagements. Since our founding, hundreds of thousands of workers and their advocates have used our resources to successfully fight for workplace rights and justice.
Our state-by-state Know Your Rights guide offers reliable, clear, and up-to-date information on the laws workers caring for themselves and their loved ones need to know, addressing:
- job accommodations during pregnancy
- caregiver discrimination
- paid family and medical leave
- paid sick time
We provide additional step-by-step guides for pregnant workers, “Talking to Your Boss About Your Bump,” and for breastfeeding workers, “Talking to Your Boss about Your Pump.” Our Working Women’s Pocket Guide covers the employment rights and protections for working woman in New York State. Likewise, our online toolkit, Family Leave Works, helps New Yorkers understand and effectively exercise their rights under the state’s groundbreaking paid family leave law that we worked tirelessly to pass. And amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we have sprung into action to create FAQs and other resources to inform workers nationwide about federal, state, and local emergency relief laws.
As part of our public education efforts, we spark and shape national conversations as thought leaders on work and family through media appearances and strategically placed thought-leader pieces in local and national outlets, including the New York Times, CNN, U.S. News & World Report, and Telemundo, among others. This coverage has inspired new legislative efforts and workplace fairness campaigns across the country. Because the workers we support are at the center of everything we do, we work hard to ensure their stories are heard in an authentic and meaningful way. Our clients have been prominently featured in investigative reports on the front page of the New York Times, as well as in special segments on CNN, MSNBC, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, and more.