Writing in the Sun-Times, Cristal Thomas, deputy governor of Illinois, called on the Illinois Senate to pass House Bill 8. The bill would require employers in Illinois to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers, similar to those provided for workers with temporary disabilities. The ACLU of Illinois supports the legislation, sponsored by Representative Mary Flowers, which passed out of the Illinois House on April 10th.
The victims’ testimonials are heartbreaking. Yvette, a pregnant grocery clerk who miscarried and was fired when her boss demanded she do more heavy lifting. Guadalupe, a pregnant fast-food worker who was denied needed bathroom breaks, then fired. Hilda, a cashier who was denied the right to sit on a stool during her 8- to 10-hour shifts, because, as her boss explained, “You can’t get special treatment since men don’t get pregnant.”
These women represent a disturbing trend in workplaces across the nation. As more female employees comprise our workforce and expectant mothers stay on the job longer into their pregnancies, there are increasing reports of employers who refuse to accommodate these workers’ conditions.