PAWG -- Pregnancy Accommodation Working Group


About PAWG
English (USA)

Working Group on Pregnancy Accommodation
Center for WorkLife Law

Some 40 years after the passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, pregnancy discrimination remains remarkably prevalent and remarkably open. In fact, pregnancy discrimination suits are one of the fastest-growing arenas of employment law. Pregnant women often are fired within hours or days of announcing their pregnancies; not infrequently, women are given the choice of getting an abortion or getting fired.

This is a key moment of opportunity to sharply expand workplace protections for pregnant women due to the recent passage of the Amendments to the American With Disabilities Act (ADAAA). The interaction of the ADAAA and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act means that American women should now be able not only to counter discrimination more effectively; they also should be able to gain access to the kinds of accommodations they often need in order to keep their jobs. It is important to work pro-actively to try to ensure that the ADAAA is interpreted to require pregnancy accommodation in a wide range of cases.

Joan C. Williams, Distinguished Professor and Founding Director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law, is forming a Working Group on Pregnancy Accommodation. Williams, called “a giant in her field” by the Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), has run similar groups for over a decade. These groups are widely credited with creating a new area of employment law (called family responsibilities discrimination) as well as generating new social science studies documenting that discrimination against motherhood is the strongest form of gender discrimination. These are important tools to address the “motherhood penalty”: the wage gap between mothers and others is far larger than the wage gap between men and women. Women will never achieve equality until mothers do, and mothers will never achieve equality so long as discrimination remains widespread against mothers and pregnant women.

The proposed Working Group will bring together employment attorneys, social scientists, and physicians. The lawyers will develop a concerted strategy to gain new rights for pregnant women by developing the new legal theories articulated by Williams and others in their recent invited testimony before the EEOC. The physicians will develop models for doctors' notes to employers, given Williams' finding that pregnant women often get fired because the way doctors write their notes ordering workplace restrictions is not tied in effectively with pregnant women's legal rights.

The Working Group will meet twice a year for two years. During the first year, the group will crystalize its interpretations of existing law, identify what new social science studies are needed, and make a list of common pregnancy-related conditions that affect both the mother and the fetus. During the second year, the group will draft a series of Model Pregnancy Accommodation Notes, and develop a dissemination plan to bring them to awareness of doctors throughout the country; publish its legal theories both in a law review and in outlets read by practitioners, and seek to appear on panels at NELA, the ABA Labor and Employment Section etc.; and seek publication of the new social science studies, perhaps through a special issue of the Journal of Social Issues (where the results of two prior working groups run by Williams were published).

To see the collection of prior postings to the list, visit the PAWG Archives.

Using PAWG
To post a message to all the list members, send email to

You can subscribe to the list, or change your existing subscription, in the sections below.

Subscribing to PAWG

Subscribe to PAWG by filling out the following form. You will be sent email requesting confirmation, to prevent others from gratuitously subscribing you. Once confirmation is received, your request will be held for approval by the list moderator. You will be notified of the moderator's decision by email. This is also a private list, which means that the list of members is not available to non-members.

    Your email address:  
    Your name (optional):  
    You may enter a privacy password below. This provides only mild security, but should prevent others from messing with your subscription. Do not use a valuable password as it will occasionally be emailed back to you in cleartext.

    If you choose not to enter a password, one will be automatically generated for you, and it will be sent to you once you've confirmed your subscription. You can always request a mail-back of your password when you edit your personal options.

    Pick a password:  
    Reenter password to confirm:  
    Which language do you prefer to display your messages? English (USA)  
    Would you like to receive list mail batched in a daily digest? No Yes

PAWG Subscribers
(The subscribers list is only available to the list members.)

Enter your address and password to visit the subscribers list:

Address: Password:   

To unsubscribe from PAWG, get a password reminder, or change your subscription options enter your subscription email address:

If you leave the field blank, you will be prompted for your email address

PAWG list run by crowleych at
PAWG administrative interface (requires authorization)
Overview of all mailing lists

Delivered by Mailman
version 2.1.9
Python Powered GNU's Not Unix