Jessica Natalie, Joan Williams, Natalie I discussed on On Point with Tom Ashbrook | Podcasts
Discrimination just can Natalie I'm gonna. Ask you even really patient here. I just wanted to get a lot of those additional stories, but I'm gonna ask you to stand by for one more minute here because I want to introduce Joan Williams into the conversation. She's a professor of law at the university of California Hastings and director of the center for work life law there, and she joins us today from San Francisco, Joan Williams, welcome to on point. So the big question here now after we've heard the extensive reporting from Jessica Natalie in those three stories from women who just called us is what rights do pregnant women have in the workplace to ask for combinations. I mean, there is a there is a law from nineteen seventy eight on the books. What does that law purportedly do? Actually to odds native women far more rights than people. Typically, no, they have the pregnancy Discrimination Act, which is the law from the seventies says that if you accommodate people who aren't pregnant very often you have to accommodate people. Well, always you have to accommodate people who are and that may give you additional rights, but the other law is the Americans with disabilities. Act. Now, the pregnancy is not a disability. But a lot of the conditions instant pregnancy are disabilities, for example, lots of women get carpal tunnel as a result of pregnancy. So it doesn't make any sense that you have to accommodate women with carpal tunnel, which is a known disability so long as they it's not incident to pregnancy. So for many of the kinds of conditions that women typically need accommodations. They're entitled to combinations under the americ-. With disabilities. Act. Even if the pregnancy Discrimination Act doesn't help, but what about the cases of Jessica and Natalie reported where women were told they were at risk of miscarriage, and that that risk was exacerbated because of the nature of the the highly physical labor they're doing I mean, that's not necessarily a disability. It's a risk. So what rights did they have? It depends on the medical condition. And this is exactly why we need a federal law that addresses directly the need the women's need for accommodations. It's it's been proposed. It's called the pregnant workers fairness act, but depending on the specific conditions they had they might well have been entitled to accommodations eat one under one of these existing laws. The problem is it's a patchwork. It's very complicated. We actually have a website at work. Nice law to help it's called pregnant at work to help pregnant women know what their rights are. And we have a website to help doctors get them disability. Disability leave or disability accommodations if they need it. But it's really complicated. That's why we need the law. Jessica Natalie just got about thirty seconds here before the break, but as far. As I understand it. The major loophole laws. It stands right now is if a company doesn't offer a combination to anyone they don't have to accom- offer accommodations to pregnant women. That's right. Yeah. I mean and the women in the warehouse, you know, they didn't have any specific condition. They were just told that the having. I mean, in some cases, they had high risk pregnancies some had given birth Preterm before. But these were women who were in a workplace that did not accommodate anyone. So that workplace had no obligation under federal law to accommodate them will Nedley kitchen with Jessica silver Greenberg. And professor Joan Williams hang on here for just a second. We gotta take a quick break. We're talking about pregnancy. Discrimination in the workplace. We'll be right back. I make a chocolate bar. This is on point..