Today, I was honored to join a distinguished group of scholars, advocates, government officials, and legal and policy experts to discuss an issue of critical importance to working women and families in this country: discrimination based on pregnancy and caregiving.
The meeting was held by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and it focused on the latest research on these persistent forms of discrimination, enforcement of laws that prohibit discrimination, and actions employers and government officials can take to better protect pregnant workers, caregivers and families. It was on this last point that I focused my remarks.
The National Partnership has long been an advocate for pregnant women and caregivers in the workplace. We worked to pass the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and many other critical laws, and we continue fighting for anti-discrimination laws and policies today.
With good reason. Sadly, discrimination against pregnant women and caregivers is on the rise. So today, we urged the administration to aggressively address the issue by creating a multi-agency task force that can address critical gaps in research, outreach, education, policy development and enforcement.
This complex and pernicious type of discrimination needs a well-coordinated and comprehensive response. And the EEOC, U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) can all take concrete steps to strengthen their anti-discrimination work. Today's EEOC meeting shows a commendable commitment to doing so.
The National Partnership made these specific recommendations:
Working women and caregivers depend on equal opportunity in the workplace, and their families depend on them. We applaud the EEOC for bringing attention to this important issue, and we look forward to continuing to work with the administration to put an end to discrimination that threatens the economic security of our nation's families. No worker should have to risk adverse treatment, lost income or loss of a job due to pregnancy, childbirth or family caregiving responsibilities.
Read my full written and submitted testimony here.