08.28.15

Peters Cosponsors Bill to Protect Pregnant Workers from Discrimination in the Workplace

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today announced that he will be cosponsoring the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to ensure pregnant women and new mothers can continue to work and support their families by requiring employers to make reasonable accommodations for their health needs and limitations. 

“Women in the workforce should never be forced to choose between a healthy pregnancy and their paycheck,” said Senator Peters. “This legislation helps ensure that pregnant workers can continue to provide for their families throughout their pregnancy. I’m proud to cosponsor this important measure that will give workers in Michigan and across the country the workplace protections they deserve.”

In Michigan, approximately 65 percent of pregnant women and new moms are in the labor force, but under current law pregnant workers can be placed on paid or unpaid leave, or even fired because of a pregnancy.

This legislation would prohibit employers from discriminating or retaliating against workers who may have limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth or other related medical conditions, and require employers to make reasonable accommodations for these employees. Employers would be prohibited from forcing pregnant employees to take paid or unpaid leave, or to leave a job against their will when an accommodation can be made for employees to continue working. These reasonable accommodations are similar to the accommodations required for employees with disabilities by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

The legislation would apply to businesses with more than 15 employees and provide protections for both job applicants and employees. It also provides an exemption for businesses in the event an accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the employer.

Throughout his career in public service, Peters has been a strong advocate for the rights of workers. He recently cosponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act to help give women the tools they need to get equal pay for equal work. One of the first bills he supported and helped pass as a new member of Congress in 2009 was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which overturned the 180-day statute of limitations for women to seek a legal remedy for lost wages caused by pay discrimination. 

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