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NJ Employment Law - Should Pregnant Women Work

Posted by Britt Simon on Dec 16 2014

This is a one sided article that plays to the weak minded individuals.   It should be undisputed that ALL reasonable accommodations should be made for expectant mothers.   Likewise,  only reasonable accommodations should need to be made.  It is unreasonable to believe that a commercial concern should run in the red to accommodate a pregnancy.  If more than a reasonable accommodation is required, employers can not  feasibly continue the employment of the pregnant employee.  The courts need to stop thinking about entitlements and start thinking about protecting basic human rights and returning business to profitable levels.

Should you seek to speak with a NJ Employment Lawyer, contact Simon Law Group for your free consultation, 800-709-1131.

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U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether pregnant women can work: Editorial

By Star-Ledger Editorial Board 
on December 11, 2014 at 6:21 PM, updated December 11, 2014 at 9:22 PM

In the very same America that celebrates Mother's Day with Hallmark gushiness, employers still fire pregnant women at will. They can be fired for carrying a water bottle on the job to stay hydrated. They can be fired for taking too many bathroom breaks, or failing to lift heavy things.

The question now before the U.S. Supreme Court is whether employers can continue treating pregnant women like dirt, revoking their salaries and health benefits at the very moment they need them the most. And given the history of this court on so-called "women's issues," mothers have plenty of cause for concern.

The reluctant star of this test case, Peggy Young, never wanted to be feminist icon. She just wanted to drive a truck for UPS. She sued under the pregnancy discrimination law passed by Congress in 1978, after being forced to go on unpaid leave and give up her health benefits because she couldn't lift the heaviest packages -- a tiny fraction of her workload.

She had asked for a light duty assignment and had every reason to expect one. After all, UPS has given such temporary gigs to workers with disabilities and even those who had their commercial driver's licenses revoked after off-the-job drunk driving convictions.

But UPS wouldn't show a pregnant lady the same courtesy as a drunk. The company claims that its policy was to provide reasonable accommodation for those who are disabled on the job, and says that pregnancy does not qualify. But it exempts drunk drivers, so that distinction is bogus. And it has since changed its policy to cover pregnancies, a tacit admission that excluding Young was stupid in the first place.

Under the 1978 law, employers are supposed to treat pregnant women the same way they do other employees who are "similar" in their ability or inability to work. But the crux of this debate is how you interpret who those similar employees are: The ones who get the most accommodations, or the fewest?

UPS argues that "similarity" doesn't just apply to an inability to work -- that in order to get reasonable accommodations by law, a pregnant woman must be similar in all respects to someone with a disability, on-the-job injury or lost commercial driver's license. Otherwise, she is merely comparable to someone with an off-the-job injury who gets nothing.

Those who defend this reasoning tend to view pregnancy as a special imposition that forces other workers to pick up the slack. Unlike a man on crutches, they see a pregnant woman as having chosen her condition, and say she should have to live with the consequences -- which, evidently, means unemployment and no medical coverage in 21st century America.

It's strange to hear pregnancy described as a self-imposed female handicap. It's much more universal than a disability: not only will 85 percent of women get pregnant at some point during their employment (some more than once), there isn't a person on this planet who isn't affected by the conditions that pregnant women face.

This is an issue for every family, one that unites women's rights groups on the left with anti-abortion advocates on the right. None think a woman should have to choose between her job or her pregnancy -- which, under economic duress, she may feel pressured to end.

And what about the economic benefits of being a decent employer? It's not that difficult to accommodate a temporary pregnancy, as employers do for disabilities. Getting women stay on the job is a boost to morale and reduces turnover.

The Obama administration has pledged to issue regulations to clarify this law and ensure pregnant workers are fully protected. Good to hear. But in the meantime, this is a real test for our nation's highest court: Will it side once again with male business owners, as it did when it put their religious beliefs above contraceptive coverage for tens of thousands of women?

Or will it actually prioritize women's rights for a change -- if only for the sake of the unborn?

Should you seek to speak with a NJ Employment Attorney, contact Simon Law Group for your free consultation, 800-709-1131.

Topics: Employment Law

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