Pregnancy Fairness Act Takes Effect on January 1, 2015

This new year is happy in more ways than one — January 1, 2015 marks the day that the Pregnancy Fairness Act takes effect in Illinois. The Illinois legislature unanimously passed the Act on May 28, which was later signed by Governor Pat Quinn. It is a common-sense law requiring that employers provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant women. Accommodations are determined on a case by case basis, but typically include permission to sit down periodically or perform available light-duty work — the same type of reasonable accommodations that employers already are required to provide for other workers who already need it for medical reasons.
According to Governor Quinn, “[t]his is a landmark bill that will end a common but often overlooked form of workplace discrimination and make Illinois a better place for our moms-to-be.”
The Act was made possible due to the hard work of a coalition of groups, including Women Employed, the ACLU of Illinois, and the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law. These groups worked with key legislators to draft the bill. “This is a great victory for working women,” said Melissa Josephs, WE Director of Equal Opportunity Policy. “We’re proud to be setting an example in Illinois for the kind of legislation that we hope will pass at the federal level in the form of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. Our dream is to guarantee these basic protections for all pregnant workers in the United States, and this is an important step toward that dream.”
Caffarelli & Associates Ltd. applauds the groups and lawmakers that made the Pregnancy Fairness Act possible. With substantial trial and appellate experience enforcing workers’ rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act, attorney Alejandro Caffarelli looks forward to using the Pregnancy Fairness Act to protect and help vindicate the rights of pregnant workers across the State of Illinois.

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