October 31, 2018

NEW YORK — Today marks the 40th anniversary of the passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), the first federal statute making it illegal to discriminate against women in the workplace because they are pregnant.

Vania Leveille, senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, issued the following statement:

“The PDA was a revolutionary step forward for working women. For decades, pregnancy guaranteed a pink slip.

“But even as we commemorate this important milestone, we must acknowledge that widespread pregnancy discrimination continues to be a fact of life for our nation’s working women. While the PDA eliminated some the most overt forms of pregnancy discrimination, the problem still requires vigilant enforcement. Employers still routinely fire or sideline women after they disclose a pregnancy. Pregnant workers are denied even minor job modifications needed to have a healthy pregnancy. Women who breastfeed their babies and want to pump at work are often told to pump in a bathroom or not at all.

“We’ve made strides, but there is so much more work to be done to assure that pregnancy does not derail women’s economic lives. The ACLU will continue to protect the rights of women to have a child, to not have a child, and to parent in the way they see fit. We also call on the incoming Congress to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which would clarify employers’ duty to accommodate pregnant employees’ temporary medical needs.”

A blog on the Pregnancy Discrimination Act can be found here:
https://www.aclu.org/blog/womens-rights/pregnancy-and-parenting-discrimination/employees-who-have-babies-are-still

A petition urging Congress to pass the PWFA can be found here: http://go.nationalpartnership.org/site/PageNavigator/new_congress_pass_pwfa_2019.html

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