Federal and employer-sponsored policies used primarily by working women for childbirth and/or disability related to childbirth.
The historical treatment of pregnant working women stems from the traditional societal attitude that the role of a woman is exclusively one of wife and mother. As women began entering the workforce during the Industrial Revolution, many states attempted to protect women from the unhealthy working conditions existing at that time. States enacted statutes that attempted to shield women by limiting hours of work, specifying maximum weights to be lifted, and prohibiting them from performing certain types of work.
In Muller v. Oregon
In the 1920’s, the numbers of working women grew; however, no legislation protected the rights of pregnant workers or working mothers. Most women workers assumed that childbearing responsibilities would remove them from the workplace. Throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s the public rejected the idea of working mothers. However, World War II created a worker shortage, and nearly one-third of the female population over age fourteen mothers included worked outside the home. After the end of the war in 1945, many of these working women lost their high-paying union jobs to returning veterans. In the 1950’s, many women chose to be homemakers rather than to join the workforce; however, in the 1960’s and 1970’s, many women entered the workforce, and more women chose to keep working after pregnancy and childbirth.
In Cleveland Board of Education v. LaFleur
The General Electric decision prompted a broad coalition of activists to lobby for legislation protecting the rights of pregnant women. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act was passed in March, 1977, to amend Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include pregnancy-related disability. The act required that employers treat pregnancy like any other physical condition.
In California Federal Savings and Loan Association v. Guerra
In 1993 Congress passed the Family and Medical Leave Act
Blank, Robert. Fetal Protection in the Workplace: Women’s Rights, Business Interests, and the Unborn. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993. Crampton, Suzanne, and Jitendra Mishra. “Family and Medical Leave Legislation: Organizational Policies and Strategies.” Public Personnel Management 24, no. 3 (1995): 271. Merrick, Janna, and Robert Blank. The Politics of Pregnancy: Policy Dilemmas in the Maternal-Fetal Relationship. New York: Haworth Press, 1993.
Due process, substantive
Family and children
Geduldig v. Aiello
Muller v. Oregon