SPRINGFIELD - Illinois employers will need to accommodate the needs of pregnant employees, or be guilty of violating civil rights if State Rep. Mary Flowers (D-Chicago) HB 8 becomes law.
Rep. Flowers passionately argued the need for the legislation, saying on the House floor that the bill is about "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
The bill, which moves now to the Senate, requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees, if so requested, unless the employer can demonstrate that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the business' ordinary operation.
Also, it would be considered a civil rights violation if an employer denies employment opportunities or benefits to a pregnant woman, or takes adverse action against an otherwise qualified job applicant or employee. The employers may not require an employee or job applicant to accept an accommodation offered or force that employee to take leave.
State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) said that she was pregnant twice while serving in the military, was provided numerous considerations while expecting and understood the need to make accommodations for pregnancy. However, the mother of five was concerned about a possible rise in litigation the bill would fuel.
State Rep. Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) said she opposed the legislation because of the demands it would make on small businesses that have small budget margins.
The legislation passed the House 65 to 36: