Why the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act needs to become law
Stories like that of Victoria Seredny, who was fired from her job as a nursing home activities director because her employer refused to accomodate her need not to lift heavy objects during her high-risk pregnancy, infuriate me. While I'm the first one to agree that being pregnant is not akin to being disabled, the reality is that pregnant women need just as much workplace protection. That's why it's imperative for the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which was introduced last Friday in the Senate, to become law. Sadly, this looks highly unlikely.
Why? Well just ask your friendly Senate Republicans.
They have consistently opposed workplace bills like the PWFA because they claim they can be detrimental to businesses by putting an unnecessary burden on them. I guess none of them have ever been pregnant then because there's no way they wouldn't be able to see the need for a bill like the PWFA if they have.
I mean, we're talking about growing another human being inside of you, people! That's not only an amazing feat, but it can also be a very difficult and delicate one. For many women, going to work while pregnant poses a tremendous risk and all the PWFA would do is ensure they receive "reasonable accomodations." Believe it or not, this could mean something as simple as the right to be able to carry a water bottle at all times while working.
Why do I bring that up? Well because a pregnant employee at Walmart, Heather Wiseman, was fired for insubordination when she brought her water bottle to work with her even though she's been warned that only cashiers were permitted to do that. How is that even possible?
Even worst is the fact that when both Wiseman and Seredny sued their employers for wrongful termination, they both lost. The PWFA would prevent this despicable behavior toward pregnant woman from ever happening again.
Image via karindalziel/flickr