By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia employers have just a few days to inform workers about a new anti-discrimination law focused on women who are pregnant or new mothers.
When roughly 80% of women work through the end of their of their pregnancy, the new law under the Philadelphia Fair Practices Act gives female workers who are expecting a baby or who have recently given birth the right ask their employer for reasonable accommodations without the fear of being fired.
“Women can have restroom breaks, rest breaks, water breaks, help lifting items,” says Rue Landau, executive director of the Philadelphia Commission for Human Relations, “or anything they might need to help them do their jobs while their pregnant.”
Landau says the law went into effect in January, but employers have until April 20th to post information about the new law to inform so that workers know their rights.
“If they don’t the fair practices ordinance has fines and penalties,” says Landau, “but we’re less interested in fining people and more interested in educating employers.”
Fines are roughly $2,000 each violation.
Landau says many women, especially low wage and immigrant workers, have been fearful to ask for simple accommodations like getting a drink of water. She’s hoping the new law changes that.
“We want employers to help make Philadelphia a successful place for everyone,” she says.
Landau says free posters are available on the Commission’s website and hard copies are available at their office.