Protecting pregnant people from workplace discrimination is an essential part of reproductive freedom. This advocacy is a crucial part of the work we do every day to ensure a woman’s choices are her own—not warped by unfair and discriminatory workplace policies.
Unfortunately, in North Carolina, pregnant employees can be shut out of the workforce simply for needing a bottle of water at their desk, a chair to sit on or even an extra bathroom break during the workday. Discrimination also affects those who are seeking new employment, as pregnant job applicants may fear that disclosing their pregnancy could cost them the job. When employers do not provide reasonable accommodations for expectant mothers, workers can be forced to choose between a paycheck and starting or growing their family.
Women make up almost half of our nation’s labor force, and 40 percent of women are the sole or primary breadwinners for their families.1 When women choose to have children, their employers should respect that choice, not discriminate against them. This means accommodating the needs of pregnant workers.
North Carolina is one of the only five states that does not have protections for pregnant workers beyond the federal law.
We are working with a coalition of progressive partners to change this, because we know protecting pregnant workers is a family value.
1 Pew Research Center, Breadwinner Moms