FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Matt Smith
Smith bill aimed at protecting pregnant women in the workplace
HARRISBURG, July 6 – State Rep. Matt Smith, D-Allegheny, introduced legislation that would amend the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act by adding language specifically protecting pregnant women in the workplace.
Smith said this language is intended to clarify that discrimination against women on the basis of pregnancy is a violation of the PHRA.
"It is vitally important that every worker have a fair shot at employment and fair treatment in the workplace," Smith said. "My legislation will clarify and specify that sex discrimination against women who are pregnant will not be tolerated."
Although the PHRA prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, it does not specifically forbid discrimination against women who are pregnant. As a result, many state governments have enacted laws to specifically prohibit discrimination of women on the basis of pregnancy. Such measures ensure that all women are treated fairly and that they receive full protection under the PHRA.
House Bill 2541 would define "pregnancy" in the law, and add "pregnancy" to the list of discriminatory practices deemed unlawful by the PHRA. Specifically, the legislation would incorporate the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act definition of pregnancy into the PHRA as a specific protected class.
"It is my intention that these provisions will ensure an end to discrimination against pregnant women in the workplace," Smith added. "Because of an increased number of women remaining in the workplace throughout their pregnancy, I feel this legislation is not only necessary, but long overdue."