State Senator Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) joined Senators Shannon Jones (R-Springboro) and Capri Cafaro (D-Hubbard) as well as faith leaders, small business owners and doctors to announce legislation addressing discrimination toward pregnant women in the workplace.

Earlier this year, one such case reached the U.S. Supreme Court. After becoming pregnant, Peggy Young’s doctors advised that she not lift more than 20 pounds, out of concern for her unborn child. However, Young’s employer – UPS – required that all delivery drivers lift packages up to 70 pounds. UPS refused to grant Young an exception, and eventually, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the worker’s claim was legitimate and sent it back for a lower court to review.

“This is about making a reasonable effort to ensure that no woman should ever have to choose between her job and her family," said Lehner. "It's important that we recognize this unique circumstance while simultaneously supporting their careers, families and employers."

The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA) outlawed pregnancy discrimination, but employers still often refuse to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers. Temporary relief from heavy lifting, being able to sit for a few minutes every couple of hours, or being able to go to the bathroom when you need to are basic accommodations pregnant women need on the job.

Nearly 75 percent of the 68 million women working in the United States will become pregnant at some point in their lives. Since the state began tracking such cases, more than 1,600 women have filed complaints with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission alleging discrimination based on their pregnancy. 

West Virginia, Illinois, Kentucky, North Dakota and Delaware have all passed bills requiring reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers.

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