Friday, 27 September 2013

Press Release: NYC Council Passes Bill Protecting Pregnant Workers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Michelle Caiola

mcaiola@legalmomentum.org

212.413.7534; cell, 914.325.7013

LEGAL MOMENTUM HELPS PASS NEW LEGISLATION ENSURING PREGNANT WOMEN CAN CONTINUE EARNING A PAYCHECK DURING PREGNANCY

New York, NY (Sept. 26, 2013)—Legal Momentum, the nation’s oldest nonprofit advocating for the legal rights of women, applauds the progressive new bill passed unanimously by the New York City Council on Tuesday—Int. No. 974-A.

The bill requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees or those recovering from childbirth so long as the accommodation does not pose an undue hardship on the employer. All too often, pregnant women are fired or forced onto unpaid leave when a minor adjustment to their job duties would allow them to continue working productively. Women in low wage jobs or in non-traditional fields—for example, cashiers, factory workers, health aides, firefighters, construction workers—are even more likely to face such situations. If more frequent breaks, permission to sit on a stool while working, or a temporary reassignment of lifting duties can keep a woman on the job for the duration of her pregnancy, everyone wins. Not only does the employee benefit from maintaining her job and providing economic security to her family, but employers benefit by avoiding the cost of replacement hiring and by retaining loyal employees. Mayor Bloomberg is expected to sign the bill by early October.

Legal Momentum’s Senior Staff Attorney, Michelle Caiola, and client Angie Welfare were invited to testify about pregnancy discrimination in the workplace before the New York City Council in June. Welfare testified that when she was sent home instead of being provided accommodations, “I knew I must be experiencing pregnancy discrimination. Imagine planning to have a baby with no job or income. If I could have pointed to this law when speaking to my manager ... I would not have suffered a loss of pay, benefits, or all the emotional trauma that followed.”

“Very few cities or states have taken this bold step to ensure economic security and fairness for pregnant women and their families,” said Caiola. “In passing this important bill, New York City is once again at the forefront of advancing equality for women.”

Please contact us for more information on the state of pregnancy discrimination laws, and our work with employees who have faced pregnancy discrimination on the job. Legal Momentum’s interactive state-by-state guide to pregnancy discrimination laws in the US can be accessed at Legal Momentum’s website. The guide also includes information about rights pertaining to breastfeeding and pregnancy leave.

About Legal Momentum
Legal Momentum is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1970 to advance the rights of women by using the power of the law and creating innovative public policy in three broad areas: economic justice, freedom from gender-based violence and equality under the law. For more information visit www.legalmomentum.org

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