Pregnancy Discrimination (H 5674A as amended, S 0276A as amended)PASSED
Category: 2015 Workplace Rights
Existing federal prohibitions against pregnancy discrimination in the workplace have proven ineffective in prevention women from facing serious workplace penalties because of their pregnancy or breastfeeding status. Conflicting decisions by federal courts on pregnancy discrimination cases has left uncertainties in the law that permit employers to deny pregnant women reasonable accommodations, such as the ability to carry a bottle of water on the job, even as they have permitted such accommodations for other disabled workers. As a result, pregnant women are often asked to weigh their health and the safety of their pregnancy against their need to work, sometimes losing their jobs altogether. Legislation sponsored by Representative Shelby Maldonado (H 5674A as amended) and Senator Hanna Gallo (S 0276) will protect Rhode Island’s pregnant workers by ending this practice; the ACLU testified before there House and Senate Labor committees in March and April, respectively, in support of these bills. The legislation passed both Houses in June and is off to the Governor for her signature.