National Women's Law Center is reporting that 42 of the 50 United States do not specifically provide accommodations to pregnant workers. This means that in these 42 states, pregnant women aren't getting the treatment afforded to employees regularly. Together with A Better Balance, the center has released a report that highlights the unfair workplace practices when dealing with pregnant women.
The report includes numerous examples of women, usually working low-wage jobs, who were fired after requesting adjustments to their daily routines due to their pregnancy. The situations are almost too crazy to be believed. A Kansas retail worker was terminated for carrying around a water bottle to stay hydrated. A stocker at Wal-Mart lost her job because she wanted to avoid carrying heavy products, all in order to prevent having another miscarriage. And in Maryland, a truck driver not only was forced onto unpaid leave, but also lost her health insurance when she needed assistance with heavy lifting.
The issue goes far beyond pregnant workers not being given the treatment they're due. Instead, it's the fact that injured workers are allowed exceptions that pregnant workers are often denied. Even with laws such as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, with mandates that pregnant employees should be given the same treatment as other workers, there's clearly still a disconnect between what the laws say should happen and what is actually happening. However, some steps are being made in a positive direction: Eight states, including Illinois, California, and Texas offer extensive protection for pregnant workers. If New York passes the Women's Equality Act, they could be the ninth.