Murkowski, Alexander, Fischer Introducing Legislation to Strengthen Protections for Pregnant Women

Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI) today introduced bicameral legislation to clarify the intent of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) of 1978 to strengthen protections for pregnant women in the workplace. The legislation provides much-needed protections highlighted by a recent Supreme Court decision, Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc., where the Justices upheld the discrimination protections in the PDA but noted that they could be strengthened. The bill is also being co-sponsored by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Deb Fischer (R-NE).

The Pregnancy Discrimination Amendment Act will strengthen the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 by clarifying that a pregnant worker may have an accommodation offered to any other employee in similar working conditions.  Current law says employers must treat pregnant workers the same as “other persons” not “any other persons”—a limiting factor that was pointed out by the Supreme Court in Young

“Pregnant women must be protected from potential discrimination by employers, and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 must be enforced,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski. “This bill clarifies and tightens the existing law to help ensure against unequal treatment in the workplace.”

“This legislation will make clear that expecting mothers cannot be discriminated against in the workplace. And it will ensure that pregnant employees have access to every accommodation given to employees in similar working conditions—providing the flexibility to continue working and supporting their families,” said Senator Lamar Alexander, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.  “This legislation will accomplish all of that without adding the unclear and duplicative requirements Senate Democrats are proposing that will cause confusion for employers and workers alike.”

“Our nation has made important progress over the past 30 years, providing women with the right protections and laws to shield them from workplace discrimination,” said Senator Deb Fischer.  “But as the challenges facing America’s working families continue to grow and evolve, our laws must keep up. That’s why I’m pleased to join my colleagues in support of this new bill that will protect pregnant workers from discrimination while reinforcing current law.”