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Senate Approves Two Pieces Of Legislation That Provide Protections For Pregnant And Nursing Mothers In The Workplace


Federal and state employment laws prevent discrimination on the basis of sex, family status, and pregnancy, among other protected characteristics.  Mothers of young children know all too well the sideways glances they get when they appear to be worrying about their babies when they are supposed to be focusing on work.  When applying for jobs, young women often imagine that members of the selection committee will try to figure out whether the applicant will eventually have children and how many years they can expect to get out of the job candidate before she applies for a maternity leave.  Some employers adopt family-friendly policies in order to encourage employee retention, but employers that live up to their promises not to penalize women who work for them for being mothers are hard to find.  The United States Senate has voted to include two sets of protection for mothers in the workplace in the upcoming omnibus spending bill.  Meanwhile, if your employer unfairly took an adverse action against you before or shortly after the birth of your child, contact a Los Angeles pregnancy discrimination lawyer.

Provisions of the PUMP Act

The Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers (PUMP) Act received 92 votes in the Senate.  This proposed legislation expands on the protections provided by the Affordable Care Act of 2010.  Pursuant to the Affordable Care Act, employers must allow women who have given birth in the past 12 months to express breast milk at work.  They must provide a private area, which is not a bathroom, where new mothers can pump milk.  The PUMP Act clarifies that time spent expressing breast milk counts towards the employee’s working hours and not as a break from work if the employee is also working.  It also expands the eligibility criteria, which previously excluded many salaried employees.

Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnancy and Childbirth

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant women at work, as well as for women who have recently given birth.  Pursuant to this piece of proposed legislation, employers will not be allowed to pressure women to use paid or unpaid leave time for pregnancy, miscarriage, or childbirth if another reasonable accommodation can be provided.  The legislation leaves the definition of reasonable accommodations open to interpretation and negotiation between employers and employees.  The accommodations could be anything from a relaxation of company policies about sitting down at work, bringing food and beverages into work areas, or bathroom breaks to working remotely when the employee’s doctor recommends this.  Since all pregnancies are different, including two pregnancies for the same woman, reasonable accommodations for pregnancy are a common source of dispute and confusion in the workplace.

Speak With a Los Angeles Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer

A Los Angeles pregnancy discrimination lawyer can help you if your employer has mistreated you because of actual or perceived needs or requests associated with your pregnancy.  Contact Litigation, P.C. in Los Angeles, California to discuss your situation or call (424)284-2401.


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