RALEIGH – Governor Roy Cooper today issued an executive order that provides employment protections to state workers who are pregnant. Under the order, North Carolina must provide workplace adjustments to Executive Branch employees who have physical limitations related to pregnancy and cannot force employees to take leave when a reasonable adjustment – such as temporary restrictions on certain physical activity – would enable them to continue working safely. The order also encourages companies that receive state contracts to provide the same protections to their employees.
“No pregnant person should ever have to choose between their health and economic security,” said Susanna Birdsong, Senior Policy Counsel for the ACLU of North Carolina. “We applaud Governor Cooper for taking action to protect the health, wellbeing, and job security of state workers and contractors who are pregnant and need short-term accommodations to ensure a healthy pregnancy. North Carolina is sadly one of only five states in the nation that does not have state-level protections against discrimination for pregnant workers. We urge the General Assembly to extend these protections to all pregnant workers in North Carolina so that no one has to choose between a healthy pregnancy or a paycheck.”
Twenty-three states, including South Carolina, Louisiana, and West Virginia, ensure reasonable accommodations for workers who are pregnant. According to the National Women’s Law Center, 1.5 percent of the entire North Carolina workforce gives birth each year.