What do women in Nebraska now have in common with women in Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Texas, and West Virginia? Like the women in those states, Nebraska women no longer have to fear for their jobs when they become pregnant.
That’s because earlier this week, Governor Ricketts signed the Nebraska Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (LB 267) into law that grants pregnant workers the right to reasonable accommodations, so that no woman will have to choose between the health and safety of her pregnancy and her paycheck.
Although most women can continue working safely throughout their pregnancies without the need for any modification to their jobs, some women find that at some point during pregnancy particular job activities – such as lifting, bending, or standing for long periods—may begin to pose a challenge. Many of these women could continue to work without risk to themselves or their pregnancies with slight job modifications. But in the absence of such an accommodation, they may face an impossible choice between the health of their pregnancies and their jobs.
Nebraska’s new Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (LB 627) addresses this problem by making it unmistakably clear that employers in the state must grant reasonable accommodations to employees who have physical limitations stemming from pregnancy or childbirth, unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the employer—just like employers already must do for workers with physical limitations arising from disabilities. It also makes clear that employers cannot fire or otherwise discriminate against pregnant workers.
This bill becomes law with the full support of the Nebraska legislature, which passed the Nebraska Pregnant Workers Fairness Act not only with bipartisan support—but with unanimous support. In doing so, Nebraska becomes the ninth state that has passed a pregnancy accommodation bill with unanimous or near-unanimous support.
The right of pregnant workers to keep their jobs and receive reasonable accommodations when needed is not a partisan issue. No woman should have to choose between her pregnancy and her paycheck—and now, thanks to the legislature and Governor Ricketts, no Nebraska woman will have to.