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December 23, 2021

ATTORNEY GENERAL RAOUL URGES U.S. SENATE TO STRENGTHEN PROTECTIONS FOR PREGNANT INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES

Chicago  — Attorney General Kwame Raoul today joined a coalition of 15 attorneys general in calling on the U.S. Senate to protect pregnant individuals and families by passing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA). The PWFA secures the right of pregnant individuals to be provided reasonable accommodations at work without fear of being pushed out of their jobs. In today’s letter, Raoul and the coalition urge the U.S. Senate to support the ability for people who are pregnant to thrive in the workforce.

“Pregnant individuals should not have to endure unsafe working conditions or the threat of losing their jobs because they cannot seek accommodations during their pregnancies,” Raoul said. “I urge the Senate to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and ensure pregnant individuals are fully protected under the law.”

Currently, despite both the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), pregnant workers are not fully protected under the law. Reasonable accommodations under the ADA are available only to qualified individuals living with disabilities, including disabilities related to pregnancy. Reasonable accommodations can include, but are not limited to, sitting instead of standing, taking more regular breaks, and temporarily avoiding certain activities, like heavy lifting. Individuals in low-paying jobs are disproportionately people of color and those individuals are also more likely to be denied reasonable accommodations related to pregnancy due to the culture and demands of low-paying workplaces.

In their letter to U.S. Senate leadership, Raoul and the coalition strongly urge the Senate to pass the PFWA because it is needed to prevent pregnant workers from being forced out of their jobs or forced into taking unwanted leave. The PWFA, which is closely modeled after the ADA, would prohibit employment practices that discriminate against employees making requests for reasonable accommodations related to pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions, and would make it clear to both workers and employers what rights and obligations need to be fulfilled under the law. Additionally, the bill would not require a pregnant employee to prove that another employee in a similar situation had also received accommodations in order to obtain their own accommodation.

Joining Raoul in today’s letter are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

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