DC bill proposed to prevent employers from discriminating agains - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

DC bill proposed to prevent employers from discriminating against pregnant women

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WASHINGTON -

A bill in D.C. has been proposed that would prevent employers from discriminating against pregnant women. Basically this law would tell employers you can't get involved in a person's reproductive affairs. But some are saying if what that employee is doing isn't what the organization is preaching, they should be able to act.

Gretchen Borchelt, the Senior Counsel and Director of State Reproductive Health Policy at the National Women’s Law Center, has heard the stories of reproductive discrimination across the nation. One case in Michigan stunned her the most.

“A woman was fired because she had sex outside of marriage,” said Borchelt. “What happened there was she had gotten married two months before, but she was four months pregnant. School officials called her into their offices and said, ‘How is this possible?’ You're four months pregnant but you only just got married two months ago.”

Many members of the council are co-sponsoring a bill that would protect women from this kind of practice. It would make it clear to employers to stay out of its employees’ reproductive business.

But those representing the Archdiocese of Washington don't want this legislation. They believe that those people they choose to hire should have to follow the church's teachings.

“When a church's employees’ private actions that are inconsistent with church teachings become public, the archdiocese must be free to respond in a way that protects the integrity of its religious mission and identity,” said Cynthia DeSimone of the Archdiocese of Washington.

Councilmember Tommy Wells believes that policy hampers a person's individual rights.

“No, that's not what I’m saying,” said DeSimone. “Our employees are expected to act in accordance with the Catholic faith.”

The archdiocese would not say what action they may take against an employee that failed to follow its religious teachings. Its point was that the government shouldn't interfere in this personnel matter.

There are already many councilmembers co-sponsoring this legislation and most of the councilmembers at the meeting on Monday appeared to be on the side of passing this bill.


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