Lawmakers raise awareness about “Pregnant Workers Fairness Act”

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As the U.S. Supreme Court gets ready to hear a landmark pregnancy discrimination case, lawmakers are pushing for legislation that will protect pregnant workers in Pennsylvania.

U.S. Senator Bob Casey and York City Major Kim Bracey joined York advocates at York City Hall to talk and raise awareness about the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

Casey's bill will give pregnant workers protection by allowing them to seek accommodations in the workplace that will keep them on the job. Those adaptations include allowing pregnant women to take more bathroom breaks and making sure they aren't doing heavy lifting. The bill will also keep employers from denying employment based on the need to make those adaptations, requiring an employee to accept accommodations if they do not want to, or requiring employees to take leave if an alternative accommodation can't be provided.

This bill is modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act. The senator says that the accommodation workers with disabilities receive should apply to pregnant women.

"I think it's a matter of basic fairness, we all marvel at the wonder of pregnancy and what that means to a family and what that means to our society. We obviously value their work, so if we say we value all of that, then I think we should put out legislation where our principles are said to be and support this very simple legislation," Senator Casey said.

Recently, Casey led more than 120 members of congress in filing an amicus curiae or "friend of court" brief into the U.S. Supreme Court case of Young vs. UPS. In that case, Peggy Young of Maryland claims she experienced pregnancy discrimination while working as a driver for UPS.

It's being called into question whether UPS violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. That law makes it illegal to discriminate against women based on pregnancy. However, it does not give specifications on  accommodations for pregnant women.

Casey's bill has more than 30 co-sponsors and support from President Barack Obama, but it does not have bipartisan support. Republicans in the House and Senate believe the bill has potential to lower overall profits for a business.

Measures similar to the PWFA have been passed in other places including Philadelphia, New York City and West Virginia.

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