Rep. Fleming introduces bill that would protect pregnant women from workplace discrimination

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State Representative Rita Fleming (D-Jeffersonville) today met with members of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union to talk about key issues affecting food and commercial workers, including efforts to prevent discrimination in the workplace.

According to a story in the New York Times, the number of pregnancy discrimination claims filed annually with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has been steadily rising for two decades and is hovering near an all-time high.

An example from the same New York Times story cited a federal appeals court that ruled in favor of Stephanie Hicks, who sued the Tuscaloosa, Ala., police department for pregnancy discrimination. Ms. Hicks was lactating, and her doctor told her that her bulletproof vest was too tight and risked causing a breast infection. Her superior’s solution was a vest so baggy that it left portions of her torso exposed.

Rep. Fleming, an obstetrician/gynecologist, discussed legislation with UFCW members that she co-authored (House Bill 1073) that would prohibit an employer from discriminating against a pregnant job applicant or employee. The bill would require an employer to provide reasonable employment accommodations for a pregnant employee and would require the civil rights commission to investigate and attempt to resolve complaints.

The bill is waiting for a hearing in the House Committee on Employment, Labor and Pensions.

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