About | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline

56 U. Cin. L. Rev. 757 (1987-1988)
An Overview of Federal and State Protections for Pregnant Workers

handle is hein.journals/ucinlr56 and id is 771 raw text is: AN OVERVIEW OF FEDERAL AND STATE PROTECTIONS
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA) amended the
Civil Rights Act of 1964 to remedy the problem of discriminatory
treatment of pregnant workers.' Before the passage of the PDA,
pregnant women were not guaranteed employment-related benefits
obtainable by other disabled workers.2 The PDA requires women to
be treated on par with other disabled workers. The statute, how-
ever, provides no job security to women following childbirth where
the employer lacks a policy of reinstating workers who have been
disabled for a period of time.3 Hence, job security is available to
pregnant women in two ways: 1) through their employers' magnani-
mous employment policies;4 or 2) through progressive state legisla-
tion, mandating pregnancy leave and reinstatement following
childbirth, on the books in several states.5
This Comment presents the state of the law as it affects pregnancy
discrimination. It begins with an historical overview of pregnancy
discrimination in the United States, including the ways that Con-
gress, state legislatures, and the courts have sought to remedy the
problem. The recent challenge to progressive state laws are dis-
cussed next, followed by an analysis of the effect of the Supreme
Court's recent decision upholding these laws. This Comment con-
cludes with a discussion urging states to take into account practical
1. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(k) (1982).
2. For a discussion of the state of the law before the PDA, see infra text and
accompanying notes 6-67.
3. For a discussion of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act that amended the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, see infra text and accompanying notes 69-85.
4. A six-week disability leave is generally necessary for women to recuperate after
childbirth. H.R. Rep. No. 948, 95th Cong. 2d Sess. 5, reprinted in 1978 U.S. CODE CONG.
& AD. NEWS, at 4753 (1978). Larger companies are usually better able to accommodate
such leaves than are smaller ones. Among Fortune 500 companies, 81% offer job-
protected pregnancy leaves to female employees. Wilentz, Garland's Bouquet, TME, Jan.
26, 1987, at 15 [hereinafter TIME]. Even some of the largest companies, however, do
not accommodate pregnancy. Only 38% guarantee a woman the same job after leave
for childbirth, some 43% offer a comparable job, while 6% offer some job, and 13%
make no guarantees. Moreover, only 40% continue full salary during pregnancy leave,
while 58% grant reduced pay, and the rest pay nothing at all. Bernstein, Business and
Pregnancy: Good Will Is No Longer Good Enough, Bus. WK., Feb. 2, 1987, at 37 [hereinafter
5. For a discussion of these state statutes, see infra text and accompanying notes 92-
94. Sixty-five percent of women of childbearing age are now in the American workforce,
and 90% of them have had or will have their children during their careers. Yet, only
about two-thirds of them are entitled, under state law or company policy, to pregnancy
leaves that guarantee reasonable job security. TIME, supra note 1, at 15.

What Is HeinOnline?

HeinOnline is a subscription-based resource containing thousands of academic and legal journals from inception; complete coverage of government documents such as U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Code, Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Reports, and much more. Documents are image-based, fully searchable PDFs with the authority of print combined with the accessibility of a user-friendly and powerful database. For more information, request a quote or trial for your organization below.

Short-term subscription options include 24 hours, 48 hours, or 1 week to HeinOnline.

Contact us for annual subscription options:

Already a HeinOnline Subscriber?

profiles profiles most