HB28SigningRSPRINGFIELD – Pregnant women across Illinois can collectively exhale as discrimination against their current condition is now a civil rights violation in Illinois. State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) sponsored a new law that is making it illegal for employers to discriminate against women because they are pregnant.

“I am so relieved that vital protections are finally being offered to women who want to keep working throughout their pregnancy. Unfortunately, many women in this country still face unpaid maternity leave, which forces them to forego needed income right when another child adds to the family budget,” Sen. Hutchinson said. “For women with healthy pregnancies who need to work as long as possible, this law is crucial to their ability to stop having to choose between their jobs and their ability to provide for their families. This strong pro-family bill should unite people from all across the political spectrum who want to give strong support to families across our state.”

The law requires employers to reasonably accommodate pregnant women in the workplace, as long as it would not put undue pressure on the business to do so. An employer is in violation of the new law if the pregnant woman is forced to take a leave of absence when another workplace accommodation would be feasible, or if a potential employer refuses to hire a qualified applicant because of accommodation requirements.

The law has garnered the support of the Governor’s Office, The Illinois Federation of Teachers, ACLU, Illinois National Organization for Women and the Chicago Jobs Council, among many other groups and organizations.

The new law was presented at a special event today and becomes effective January 1, 2015.

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