Senator Lesser Votes to Pass Workplace Protections for Pregnant Workers
“The last thing we should do is penalize women who are trying to both raise a healthy family and work to support that family,” said Lesser
BOSTON — On Thursday, Senator Eric P. Lesser joined the State Senate in a unanimous vote for the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which would protect pregnant workers from workplace discrimination due to pregnancy.
The bill, sponsored by Senator Joan B. Lovely (D-Salem), allows pregnant workers to request reasonable accommodations, such as a stool to sit on, more frequent bathroom breaks, or time off for medical appointments, without fear of losing their jobs.
In addition, employers are prohibited from refusing to hire a pregnant job candidate solely because the candidate requires a reasonable accommodation. Employers are not permitted to force pregnant employees to accept an accommodation that they do not want or to take leave if another reasonable accommodation may be provided.
“The last thing we should do is penalize women who are trying to both raise a healthy family and work to support that family. I am proud that the Senate stood up for this common-sense policy to protect the jobs of pregnant workers who show up to do their work,” said Sen. Lesser. Thirteen states have already passed these workplace protections for pregnant workers.
“When we started this journey two years ago, MotherWoman and her allies knew that too many pregnant women were struggling without accommodations commonly given to other workers. Massachusetts legislators, on both sides of the aisle, heard us. So did the business community,” said Linda O’Connell, Executive Director of MotherWoman, an advocate for the bill. “We are proud to live in a state that can solve real problems for real people."
The bill will now be reconciled with the House version of the bill, which was passed last month, before being sent to the Governor for his signature.