Rep. Mike Yin filed HB0200 Wyoming pregnant worker fairness act today. Check out the text of Rep. Yin's bill here. Thanks to Teton County Board of County Commissioners Chair Natalia Macker who has been working on this behind the scenes.
Here is a quick overview of the bill's benefits:
The proposed legislation is designed to define, clearly and concisely, what constitutes “reasonable accommodations” and when an employer is and is not obligated to provide them.
23 states have passed legislation that provides this clarification for employers and protection for pregnant workers (including Nebraska, North Dakota, Utah and South Carolina).
A gap exists in the current federal legislation as it pertains to accommodations for pregnant workers:
Under the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act employers need to accommodate pregnant workers if they already provide accommodations to other workers.
The federal Americans with Disabilities Act requires employer to provide affirmative accommodations (i.e. granting accommodations regardless of whether the employer provides them to others) if someone has a pregnancy-related disability.
This gap in federal law creates a lot of confusion for employers. Pregnancy itself is not a disability. Minor accommodations--like carrying a water bottle on the retail floor or taking extra bathroom breaks while pregnant--enable pregnant women to remain on the job and healthy. The beauty of (the proposed) legislation is that small changes to the state law will go a long way to alleviating any confusion thereby helping pregnant women and business owners. Good for Business The president of the Greater Louisville Chamber of Commerce wrote an op-ed supporting similar legislation in Kentucky. He explained the confusion well: "Employers must wade through a web of federal laws and court decisions to figure out what their obligations are when it comes to appropriately accommodating pregnant workers and new mothers." Businesses in South Carolina said the same after the law was passed their last year arguing that the law was a really manageable and helpful update to federal law: "The law, which went into effect in May, does not significantly change pre-existing requirements for employers in accommodating pregnant workers, but it does provide important guidance that should result in a reduction in the incidence of discrimination against pregnant workers in the state."
Get involved! Call your reps and let them know that you care about this issue.