ANA condemns unequal treatment of pregnant workers

Thinkstock | monkeybusinessimages

Thinkstock | monkeybusinessimages

Earlier this month the U.S. Supreme Court heard the case of a former UPS driver who sued the company under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act when she was not assigned lighter duty during her pregnancy. Recently, the American Nurses Association (ANA) officially declared its support of Peggy Young in the case.

The ANA, along with other institutions, filed a “friend of the court” brief in support of Young, according to a press release.

“As this case illustrates, many women still face an unfair and impossible choice between losing their jobs and ignoring the advice of healthcare providers to maintain a healthy pregnancy,” said ANA President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, in the release. “ANA stands with the healthcare and women’s advocacy communities in calling on the Supreme Court and lawmakers to end workplace pregnancy discrimination and give pregnant workers the support needed to maintain financial security and maternal health.”

When Young was pregnant, she was instructed by her healthcare provider not to lift anything heavy. However, rather than reassign Young from her driver position to other duties during her pregnancy, she was instructed to take an unpaid leave during the remainder of her pregnancy.

Reporting on the Young v. United Parcel Service case, the New York Times wrote that the central question of the case is “what to make of language in the pregnancy law that requires employers to treat ‘women affected by pregnancy’ the same as ‘other persons not so affected but similar in their ability or inability to work.’”

In addition to the “friend of the court brief,” the ANA clearly agreed with Young’s stance in the language of the release:

While many women can work throughout their pregnancies without job modifications, some women, on the advice of their healthcare provider, require modest short-term accommodations to perform their job duties without compromising their pregnancy.

Have you seen any issues concerning pregnant nurses in your workplaces? Let us know in the comments below!

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2 Responses to ANA condemns unequal treatment of pregnant workers

  1. carolslee1949

    When I was pregnant with my first child, I was in the military working as an operating room technician, a job that required quite a bit of continuous standing. For a couple of months, I was assigned specifically to be the “scrub nurse” for a surgeon who specialized in hand and lower arm procedures. I was allowed to sit for this position. By the time I was almost 5 months along, it was decided that I should be transferred to work in a clinic, where I wouldn’t have so much standing, and I’d work 8am-4pm, no weekend or on call work. Before that transfer came through, my husband was transferred overseas, and a new regulation was instituted that pregnant service women would be relieved of service with an Honorable Discharge. This was in the early ’70’s. A few years later, the regulations were changed to allow for pregnant service women to remain active duty. The only problem I ever ran into was when an enlisted man of a higher rank than I was “ordered” me to scrub the floor of the operating room we had been working in that day with one of those scrubber/buffer machines. I was about 3-4 months pregnant and I tried to refuse and he threatened to write me up. Apparently, another person witnessed the situation and went to the Officer nurse in charge. After that, it was announced that no women, pregnant or not, were to be scrubbing the floors with the buffer machine. It was fairly soon after that when I was to be transferred to the clinic.

  2. Amanda Schrader

    I am an RN and I am just returning to work after maternity leave! While I was pregnant I was having severe pelvic pain to the point where I needed to have PT to help ease the pain! When I got myself a motorized scooter to use to get from place to place and cut down the long distance walking in the facility, I was made to jump through flaming hoops to prove that I could still do my job! I never missed a single day of work because of it and spent a lot of days at work in horrible pain! I was then told 2 days before my scheduled c section that when I returned from leave I would not return to my managment position, instead I would return as a floor nurse and would be making less money and now be expected to work holidays and weekends! So instead of enjoying my maternity leave with my little ones, I spent that time looking for another job!