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NJ Supreme Court Ruling Ensures Pregnant Workers Should Not Have to Choose Between Economic Security and Healthy Pregnancies

March 9, 2021

TRENTON – Today, the New Jersey Supreme Court affirmed the protections of the New Jersey Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (NJPWFA) in an opinion that found a police department policy violated the law by placing additional burdens on pregnant officers who requested light duty.

The ACLU-NJ and ACLU Women’s Rights Project represented a dozen organizations that promote gender equity and reproductive health as friends-of-the-court in Kathleen J. Delanoy v. Township of Ocean to defend New Jerseyans’ right to make decisions about pregnancy free from discrimination, arguing that no one should have to choose between economic security and a healthy pregnancy. The 10 other organizations on to the brief are: A Better Balance, Garden State Equality; Gloucester County NAACP; National Council of Jewish Women, Essex County Section; National Organization for Women of New Jersey; New Jersey Abortion Access Fund; Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey; Speaking of Birth; Stanton Strong Inc; and Women for Progress.

The NJPWFA was enacted in 2014 as one of the most expansive laws of its kind, amending New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination to prohibit pregnancy discrimination and require employers to affirmatively accommodate pregnancy.

The following statement can be attributed to ACLU-NJ Legal Director Jeanne LoCicero:

“New Jerseyans should not have to choose between keeping their job and maintaining a healthy pregnancy, and today’s ruling is an important victory for gender equity and workplace fairness. New Jersey has been a leader in taking a comprehensive approach to ending pregnancy discrimination, and today’s decision affirms that employers have an affirmative obligation to accommodate pregnancy in our state’s workplaces.”

The following statement can be attributed to Gillian Thomas, Senior Staff Attorney for the ACLU Women’s Rights Project:

“The economic consequences from pregnancy and breastfeeding discrimination don’t just harm women. Because nearly half of all working mothers — and 70 percent of Black mothers — are the sole or primary breadwinners in their households, pregnancy discrimination can spell economic disaster for the whole family, as well. New Jersey’s protections against pregnancy discrimination are especially important for workers of color, low-wage workers, and workers in physically-demanding jobs or male-dominated fields.”

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