Pregnancy discrimination bill passes out of Senate - FOX 32 News Chicago

Pregnancy discrimination bill passes out of Senate

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(Daniela Mazzarino/Flickr) (Daniela Mazzarino/Flickr)
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Women in Illinois may soon have civil rights protection if they’re pregnant.

“As more women are likely to be their family's primary breadwinner, it has become evident that continuing to work through pregnancy and returning to work is particularly important for women and their families. Women are either the primary breadwinner or co-breadwinners in 64% of U.S. families,” said Senator Toi Hutchinson.

Sen. Hutchinson has sponsored the legislation that would give women the protection.

“The intent of this legislation is to make unmistakably clear that employers have to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant women, just like they do for workers who need accommodations because of a disability,” added Sen. Hutchinson.

As long as a business isn’t putting more pressure on itself to function, the law requires employers to accommodate women who are pregnant. The employer will be breaking the law if a pregnant woman has to take a leave of absence when another accommodation is available for her. Also, the law will be broken if an employer refuses to hire a qualified applicant because their accommodations would be bothersome.

“In 2014, no woman should have to choose between a job or a career and the ability to provide for her family. If we as a community value the strength of the family, then this is one of the best pro-families policies to support,” said Sen. Hutchinson.

Governor Pat Quinn supports the proposed legislation.

“This is a landmark bill that will end a common but often overlooked form of workplace discrimination. The accommodations contained in this bill are simple, proper and definitely needed. They give employees peace of mind and will lead to healthier mothers and babies. And they make Illinois a better place for our moms-to-be,” said Gov. Quinn.

The president of the senate, John J. Cullerton, is also in full support of the bill.

“Workplace policies that unfairly diminish employment opportunities for pregnant women have no place in Illinois. I’m proud to stand with Senator Toi Hutchinson in this effort to clarify what are reasonable accommodations and responsibilities for employers and employees,” said Cullerton.

The Illinois Federation of Teachers, ACLU, Illinois National Organization for Women, the Chicago Jobs Council, and many other groups and organizations support the proposed legislation as well.

"I look forward to signing this bill to continue the progress we’ve made to protect and empower women in Illinois,” added Gov. Quinn.

House Bill 8 passed the Senate Tuesday with a 57 to 0 vote. The bill now returns to the House for a concurrence vote.

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