Delaware Gives An "F" For Family-Friendly Work Policies

Delaware received a failing grade in a report regarding family-friendly workplace policies.

Recently, the National Partnership for Women & Families rated each of the 50 states in terms of their family-friendly policies in the workplace. The results were disappointing. Only one state earned an "A" rating, while 17 states - including Delaware - received an "F."

Delaware received a failing grade in large part because the laws in the state do not provide any additional protections for parents in the workplace compared to federal law.

For instance, in 2013, the Delaware Discrimination in Employment Act - or DDEA - was passed. The law provides that individuals may not be discriminated against on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or other related medical issues. At the federal level, comparable protections are in place under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act similarly prohibits discrimination against individuals on the basis of pregnancy.

While these protections from discrimination are important, they fail to address all of the issues pregnant women face in the workplace. As over 60 percent of the women who had a baby in 2010 remained in the workforce, providing adequate protections for them is particularly important.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

Consequently, a new law - the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act - has been proposed at the federal level to provide added protections for pregnant women in the workplace.

Currently, if a pregnant woman is unable to perform her job duties as a result of her pregnancy, an employer is under no legal obligation to provide accommodations. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act merely prohibits an employer from treating a pregnant worker differently from its other workers.

Under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, employers would be required to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers, when those accommodations would not pose an undue hardship on the employer. For example, an employer could be required to allow a pregnant worker additional bathroom breaks or the ability to carry a water bottle throughout the day. In the past, such requested accommodations have led to pregnant workers losing their jobs.

The White House recently held a Summit on Working Families, which discussed many ways in which states could improve their family-friendly workplace policies. Among the recommendations made by the White House was the passage of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

If you have faced discrimination because of a pregnancy, childbirth or another related medical issue, you should take action to protect your rights. Consider talking to a skilled employment law attorney, who will work to ensure your interests are safeguarded.

Keywords: Delaware, pregnancy, discrimination