An article Tuesday reported that federal law does not protect pregnant women in discrimination cases. It should have said that federal law does not protect all pregnant women in discrimination cases. November 17, 1984, Saturday Lawyer Andra Oakes was quoted incorrectly in a Metro section article Tuesday. Oakes should have been quoted as saying that federal antidiscrimination law does not protect many pregnant workers in the district.
The District of Columbia's human rights law does not protect pregnant women from discrimination, D.C. City Council Chairman David A. Clarke said yesterday in announcing plans to introduce legislation amending the 7-year-old law.
Clarke said that the human rights law, which prohibits sex discrimination, was intended to cover discrimination against pregnant women. But, he said, recent court decisions have concluded that the provisions regarding sex discrimination do not include pregnancy.
Clarke's bill would expand the definition of sex discrimination to include discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. The bill would require that pregnant women be treated the same as other employes who are not pregnant but whose work may be affected by a disability.
The bill also would prevent discrimination on the basis of pregnancy in regard to public accommodations, real estate transactions and educational institutions, he said.
Donna Lenhoff, who represented the Women's Legal Defense Fund at the news conference yesterday, said that the defense fund receives about 150 pregnancy-related discrimination complaints a year in the Washington area. Lenhoff said that employers "retain a lot of prejudice about pregnancy" and pregnant women may be fired and not rehired after taking leaves. She also said some employe health and disability policies do not cover pregnancy.
Andrea Oakes, a D.C. attorney who has specialized in employment discrimination cases, said that neither federal nor District laws offer protection for pregnant women. "This bill will make it absolutely clear that discrimination on the basis of pregnancy is definitely covered under the human rights law," she said.