Wisconsin lawmakers have proposed a bill that would ensure that pregnant women or those who had recently given birth would have appropriate accommodations made for them. Employee discrimination on the basis of gender and disability is already illegal, but this law would provide more clarity to the obligations of employers.
For women who need to express milk, organizations would be obligated to provide a personal space other than a bathroom for these activities as well as running water, an electrical outlet and a refrigerator. Along with these new requirements, employers would not be allowed to force individuals to take family or medical leave as a part of a reasonable accommodation. The proposed bill has bipartisan support, and no groups are on record opposing it.
The expected passage of this legislation is certainly welcome news to a class of workers who often suffer subtle forms of discrimination. Many employees who believe they are being discriminated against in the workplace for other reasons are often concerned that if they speak out they could lose their job. State and federal law may prohibit employers from taking such action against an employee.
Source: Wisconsin State Journal, "At Issue: Pregnant workers", Sandy Cullen, December 09, 2013