July 29, 2014
Please: Stop "Helping" Women
Are these people *trying* to make it harder for women to find work? Because it sure seems that way:
The Americans with Disabilities Act, passed in 1990, has always had the potential to morph into a legal monster for employers. In 2008 Congress amended and expanded the act substantially, arguing that the Supreme Court's interpretations of "disability" were too narrow. Then the Obama Administration arrived, and you know what that means: Who needs Congress?
On a straight 3-2 party-line vote July 14, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission voted new "enforcement guidance" rules, which define pregnancy as a workplace disability.
Even after the 2008 amendments, the ADA at no point defines pregnancy as a "disability." To end-run this fact, the agency discovers pregnancy's "impairments." The EEOC's guidelines argue, "Although pregnancy itself is not a disability, impairments related to pregnancy can be disabilities if they substantially limit one or more major life activities." Morning sickness, for example, would become a qualifying impairment under the ADA.
Thus the EEOC is piling one radical legal interpretation (discarding the ADA's clear intent to help the truly disabled) upon another (granting protections to pregnant women, who aren't covered under the ADA).
As one of the two Republican commissioners, Constance Barker, wrote in a May memo to her colleagues, these legal gymnastics represent "an entirely new legal interpretation that is unsupported by Congressional intent or court interpretation."
How, exactly, does this sort of thing help women support themselves and their families?