Skip to main content

Pregnant woman working in a greenhouse.
Illinois lawmakers passed one of the many measures that should have long since been signed into federal law but have been blocked by congressional Republicans:
House lawmakers sent the governor legislation that would bar employers from firing, segregating against or refusing to hire pregnant women. Sponsoring Rep. Mary Flowers, D-Chicago, said the measure would relieve the issue of some women having to choose between having a child or taking a job.

The bill would require employers to make reasonable accommodations based on a woman’s needs, but a boss could ask for a doctor’s note. Women also could seek limited physical duties, such as avoiding heavy lifting.

Women who are denied those reasonable accommodations are often faced with the choice between earning the money they need to pay their bills and guarding their health, sometimes with terrible consequences. Bryce Covert reports on one such woman in Illinois:
After Benet Holmes, a Walmart worker in Chicago, became pregnant, she asked her manager to switch her to light duty work that would be easier on her pregnancy. But while he gave her the go ahead, other store managers “had a problem with it,” she told ThinkProgress. So she was put back on regular duty where she had to climb ladders, carry boxes, and stock heavy items in the grocery section.

She eventually miscarried. When asked if she thought that the simple change to light duty would have meant a healthy pregnancy, she answered, “Yes. Definitely.”

Holmes is not alone. Other Walmart workers have faced financial strain when denied light duty, and last year, a worker sued Albertsons for refusing to give her light duty despite three doctors' notes. Her baby was born prematurely and only lived a few minutes; the mother was demoted when she returned from leave.

This simply shouldn't be a choice women are forced to make, but as long as it's up to the bosses, it's going to keep happening. It's excellent to see states passing such laws, but, like raising the minimum wage, it's something states are forced into because congressional Republicans will not allow any legislation that helps workers, however basic or popular it may be.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu May 29, 2014 at 12:34 PM PDT.

Also republished by Chicago Kossacks, Land of Lincoln Kos, and Daily Kos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site