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A Class by HerselfProtective Laws for Women Workers, 1890s-1990s$
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Nancy Woloch

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691002590

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691002590.001.0001

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Last Lap: Work and Pregnancy

Last Lap: Work and Pregnancy

(p.235) 8 Last Lap: Work and Pregnancy
A Class by Herself

Nancy Woloch

Princeton University Press

This chapter explores the legal challenges that workplace pregnancy posed in the 1970s and 1980s. Debates about workplace pregnancy revived clashes about difference and equality that had vexed the women's movement for decades. Paradoxically, pregnancy, a badge of difference, served as a springboard to advances in equal rights. As that happened, the new direction in pregnancy policy underscored the doom of single-sex protective laws. The most enduring steps in shaping pregnancy policy were the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA), which barred discrimination against pregnant workers; the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), which offered up to twelve-week unpaid leaves to employees in larger enterprises for family and medical emergencies; and the Johnson Controls decision of 1991, which barred fetal protection regulations as a form of sex discrimination.

Keywords:   workplace pregnancy, women's movement, equal rights, pregnancy policy, single-sex protective laws, Pregnancy Discrimination Act, Family and Medical Leave Act, fetal protection regulations, sex discrimination

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