Skip to contentNational Women's Law Center

Fired for a water break?

Help Pregnant Women in the Workplace

Take Action
Share your story about pregnancy discrimination on the job.
Share Your Story

Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened to a pregnant retail worker in Kansas. She was fired for following her doctor's advice and drinking water while working because it violated store policy.

So how can this be legal?

Courts have created a pregnancy loophole that allows many employers to refuse to accommodate even simple requests to help workers maintain healthy pregnancies. Pregnant women have been fired because they asked to avoid heavy lifting, or to stay off ladders, or to sit on a stool instead of standing at a cash register all day. It happens a lot. Maybe it happened to you.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would change this. It would require employers to make the same sorts of reasonable accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions that they do for disabilities, ensuring pregnant women can continue to do their jobs and support their families.

But as we advocate for this bill in Congress, we hear the same question again and again: Has this happened to any of my constituents? We need to know your story.

Did your employer refuse to make simple modifications that you needed because of your pregnancy? Did you lose your job? Were you forced to take unpaid leave? Or did you just decide to ignore your doctor’s advice so you could keep working? Please tell us about it. Don't worry, we understand that this is personal. We will follow up with you if we are interested in sharing your story with Members of Congress, press, etc.

And if you haven't experienced this type of discrimination, you can easily help spread the word about this important issue:

While plenty of women are able to work through their pregnancies without any changes to their job, some women need temporary accommodations at some point during their pregnancy. These women should not have to choose between the health of their pregnancies and their jobs. That's no choice at all. Thanks for your help!

Comments

I was pregnant and denied a lunch break...

I was working while pregnant, in an office. I had a boss who was frequently out of town, and a coworker who used this to her advantage. One day, while our boss was gone, she chose to take the day off to spend time with her boyfriend, but decided not to tell our boss, so she could still get paid for the day. I hadn't brought a lunch to work, because, I didn't know my coworker's plans in advance. So, I ran to a local drive thru to grab something to eat. My boss happened to call while I was out of the office. I was reprimanded for leaving the office unattended. From that point forward, I was not allowed to take a lunch break ever again, and had to call my boss and ask permission every time I needed to use the restroom. If he thought it was too soon for me to need to use the restroom, he would deny my request, and I would have to hold it for hours. The other employee, however (who wasn't pregnant) still got lunch breaks, and restroom breaks, and even got a raise.

It happened to me and to coworkers

Thankfully not the water part, but working at Walgreens is not a walk in the park for pregnant women. One coworker ended up having everything inside come out when she delivered her son. She had health issues for years after his birth. She could not walk, she could not bend, she could not stand without any pain. When she had to go in for an emergency surgery, the boss Alicia Bark hung up on her while she was on the way to the hospital. I had to have my gallbladder removed and was made to feel like I should continue working, even though I could not stop vomiting. They do not care if your child is healthy or not, or if you are healthy or not. For vomiting, they'll set a garbage can next to you and tell you to straighten up or be written up.

Post new comment