Press Releases

Wexton Votes to Guarantee Protections for Pregnant Workers

Washington, DC -- Today, Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-VA-10) voted to pass the bipartisan Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to ensure that all pregnant workers have the right to reasonable accommodations so they can continue working without jeopardizing their pregnancy. The protections guaranteed in this bill are all the more crucial as pregnant people may be at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

"Every woman deserves reasonable accommodations that guarantee a healthy pregnancy, but for too long, our laws have failed to give women this basic workplace right,” said Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton. “Discrimination against pregnant women in the workforce not only exists but is prevalent, and I’m proud that we were able to come together in a bipartisan way to secure common sense protections in the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act today. Particularly now, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, guaranteeing the health, safety, and financial security of pregnant workers must be a priority."

Current law does not explicitly guarantee all pregnant workers the right to reasonable accommodations. While the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, passed in 1978, was intended to provide legal protections for pregnant workers, the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Young v. UPS set an unreasonable standard for proving pregnancy discrimination. Since that ruling, approximately 70% of Courts have denied reasonable accommodation claims for pregnant workers.

A recent survey found that 62 percent of women have experienced pregnancy discrimination on the job.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would establish the right to reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers, provided they do not impose an undue burden on the employer. Pregnant workers could not be denied employment opportunities nor be retaliated against for requesting reasonable accommodations, and they could not be forced to take paid or unpaid leave if another reasonable accommodation is available. 

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act has broad support from nearly 200 worker advocates, civil rights groups, and the business community, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.