Crist Votes for Pregnant Worker Rights

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Washington, DC, September 17, 2020 | comments

Washington, DC – U.S. Representative Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) released the following statement on House passage of H.R. 2694, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, bipartisan legislation to secure strong and clear protections for pregnant women in the workplace.

The bill, which passed by a vote of 329-73, would be the first federal law to explicitly guarantee all pregnant workers the right to basic accommodations – such as appropriate seating, water breaks, and relief from heavy lifting – so they can continue working without jeopardizing their pregnancy.

Passage of the legislation comes as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to threaten workers’ health and safety, particularly for pregnant workers who may be at increased risk of severe illness from the virus. Women comprise 64 percent of frontline workers.

“Decades into the fight for women's rights, pregnant women are still being discriminated against, fired, denied basic accommodations, or not hired in the first place. No one should have to choose between their paycheck and a healthy pregnancy,” said Rep. Crist. “The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is common sense legislation to protect a woman’s right to a workplace that doesn’t harm their pregnancy.”

Under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act:

  • Public sector employers and private sector employers with more than 15 employees must make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers (employees and job applicants with known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions).
  • Pregnant workers would not be denied employment opportunities, retaliated against for requesting a reasonable accommodation, or forced take paid or unpaid leave if another reasonable accommodation is available.
  • Workers denied a reasonable accommodation under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act will have the same rights and remedies as those established under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, including lost pay and damages.
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