by Scout Richters, ACLU of Nebraska Legal & Policy Counsel
Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), passed with the goal of ensuring that pregnancy, childbirth or postpartum conditions do not force women out of the workforce. However, the goal of the law has yet to be fulfilled, as pregnant and parenting women right here in Nebraska continue to face adverse actions at work. The ACLU of Nebraska recognized these issues in a case currently on appeal to the U.S. Appeals Court for the Eighth Circuit and penned a friend of the court brief for Ms. Tasha McNeil, an Omaha woman who, upon returning to work after maternity leave, was met with mistreatment, including complaints about how long it took her to pump breastmilk. Though we celebrate the enactment of the PDA, we also recognize that we must continue our efforts to break down barriers to ensure that women who are pregnant or parenting are not pushed out of the workplace.
While litigation is an important tool, we look forward to continuing our collaborative work with Nebraska workers and businesses to make sure everyone understands their rights while on the job. We were grateful to work with a diverse coalition to pass stronger state law protections for pregnant employees in 2015. We hope our congressional representatives will work across the aisle to update the law on the federal level, as well. Workplace protections for pregnant and breastfeeding moms are critical to gender equity, reproductive justice, and a prosperous economy that benefits all Nebraskans.