Say, you work at a job that requires that you be on your feet most, or all, of the day. Now, let’s say you are a woman, and you have become pregnant. As your pregnancy progresses, you become tired more easily from standing and you need to visit the restroom more frequently.
In a reasonable world, you would expect that simply asking would be sufficient, and your employer would allow you to take an extra restroom break or two during the workday and if feasible, allow you to sit on a stool for part of the day. If your job involves lifting, they could even offer to allow you avoid the need to lift anything substantial during your pregnancy.
But even in 2015, women are still subjected to disciplinary actions and firing for becoming pregnant.
And, no, the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act lacks the explicit protection mandating such accommodation. Such laws have been introduced to Congress, but have failed to win a majority of votes.
Since we do not live in a reasonable world, the New York legislature has passed a bill that would require employers to provide such reasonable accommodation to pregnant workers.
One would think that after 40 years of various anti-discrimination laws being passed and implemented, at both the state and federal levels, such discrimination against pregnant women would only be a distant memory.
The New York law should help, by reducing the amount of paperwork and litigation necessary to enforce these rights to accommodation. New York City already has such a law for pregnant workers, but the workers in the rest of the state have lacked such protection.
Thinkprogress.com, “For Women In This State, Getting Pregnant Will No Longer Mean Losing A Job,” Bryce Covert, May 6, 2015