New Protections For Pregnant Workers Await Action In Conn. State Senate

May 24, 2017

A bill that would expand protections for pregnant women in the workplace awaits action by the Connecticut Senate. It cleared the House of Representatives on Tuesday on a 120-30 vote.

Democratic Rep. Liz Linehan said the measure would require businesses to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers, which could include more frequent breaks and the ability to work while sitting. The bill does include an exemption for businesses that would experience "undue hardship" when accommodating a worker.

"This bill also prohibits employers from limiting, segregating, or classifying an employee in a way that would deprive her of employment opportunities due to her pregnancy," Linehan said.

Republican Rep. Anne Dauphinais said the policy could actually harm women looking for jobs.

"This bill might discourage employers from hiring women of child-bearing years," Dauphinais said.

Lawmakers Tom O'Dea and Richard Smith warned the provision will increase lawsuits against employers and put a strain on small businesses.

In Massachusetts, a similar bill passed the state House. The Senate has not yet voted on it.

The Connecticut Radio Network contributed to this report.