Existing federal prohibitions against pregnancy discrimination in the workplace have proven ineffective in preventing women from facing serious workplace penalties because of their pregnancy or breastfeeding status. In April, the ACLU testified before the House and Senate Labor committees that 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 seeks to protect Rhode Island’s pregnant workers by ending this practice. The Senate approved the legislation in June, but it failed to receive a committee vote in the House.
Pregnancy Discrimination (H 7982, S 2779)
Representative Elaine Coderre and Senator Hanna Gallo
Passed Senate, Died in House