New York Should Take Stand for Pregnant Workers NOW
December 3, 2013 – New York, NY – Today the Supreme Court will hear the case of Peggy Young, a pregnant U.P.S. worker forced onto unpaid leave, after asking her employer for a temporary break from heavy lifting as her doctor instructed. While co-workers who had on-the-job injuries or even a suspended license for a drunk- driving conviction were able to be moved to temporary lighter duty, Peggy Young was pushed out.
NOW-NYC President Sonia Ossorio said, “Peggy Young stands for the countless pregnant women pushed out of their jobs, losing their paychecks and often their health insurance at a time when they most need both. While we are hopeful that the Supreme Court will do what’s right, we have the opportunity to guarantee that the women and families of New York secure these protections in 2015, by passing the ‘reasonable accommodations’ legislation proposed by Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther. Until there is clarity and consistency in our anti-discrimination laws for pregnant workers, women will continue to be treated as second-class citizens at work.”
Seventy-five percent of women entering the workforce will become pregnant while working, and women are the primary or sole breadwinners in 40% of families. Despite federal protections outlined in the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, many employers contend they are not required to provide any special accommodations to ensure that pregnant women are able to stay on the job. New York City enacted a law to protect pregnant workers from unfair treatment at the end of last year, but New York State has failed to do the same.
“NOW receives frequent calls from women facing pregnancy discrimination, and the impact of job loss while pregnant can be absolutely devastating to them and the children they may already have. It shouldn’t matter whether you live in New York City or Buffalo – every pregnant worker deserves the same basic protections. A woman should never be forced to choose between her livelihood and a healthy pregnancy.”
Press Contact: Jean Bucaria, 212-627-9895 (o), 917-328-5543 (m), firstname.lastname@example.org