Bill aimed at protecting pregnant workers clears Senate committee

02/08/2018 04:11 PM

FRANKFORT – A bill which would require employers to make “reasonable accommodations” for employees who are pregnant was passed by a Senate committee.

Senate Bill 38, sponsored by Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr, R-Lexington, would require employers to give women the opportunity to transfer to less strenuous duties and other accommodations while they are pregnant.

“It’s estimated that more than one quarter million workers are denied requests for accommodation each year, and many more don’t even ask for any help, likely because of fear that they would be retaliated against,” Kerr said.

Committee members heard testimony from Florence police officer Lyndi Trischler, who was put on unpaid leave when she became pregnant in 2014, because of city policy.

“The police department was very helpful and they wanted to work with me and try to give me an accommodation but their hands were tied by the city policy,” Trischler said. “There was even a light duty detective position that I would have been qualified to fill but I was not eligible for it because of the policy.”

Trischler later entered into a settlement with the city for lost wages.

Elizabeth Gedmark, an attorney for the nonprofit advocacy group, A Better Balance, which represented the Trischler in the settlement, said that Trischler’s case is not an isolated incident.

“Unfortunately, it’s not just a story about the city of Florence, this is happening across the commonwealth,” Gedmark said. “Having this law would really codify and clarify Kentucky law. We want to reduce confusion. There’s no explicit legal protection in Kentucky to ensure that pregnant women are not pushed out of their jobs.”

Senate Bill 38 moves on to the full Senate for consideration.


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