Monday, November 20, 2006

Union Pacific Railroad has a message for women---Breed, honey, breed

Elizabeth Gettelman, writing in MoJo Blog, talks about the possible ramifications of the suit brought against Union Pacific Railroad for not covering contraceptives in its health plans. The suit, filed by two female employees and Planned Parenthood, alleges that Union Pacific, in failing to provide the coverage, is in violation of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers with fifteen or more employees from discrimination based on gender or pregnancy.

But get this: Union Pacific's defense is that the company is not obligated to provide contraceptive coverage because fertility is normal and therefore, birth control is not a medical necessity. In other words, it is the job of the women who work for Union Pacific to breed, breed, breed. I would be interested to know how they treat their female employees once they learn they are pregnant and will be taking maternity leaves.

A U.S. District Court has already ruled in favor of the women, and the case is now being heard by the 8th District Court of Appeals. If the appeals court also rules in favor of the plaintiffs, all companies could be mandated to cover contraceptives.

5 Comments:

Interesting that information like this has little bearing on who makes Working Mother magazine's top 100 best companies list. (Union Pacific is on the list this year.) Oh, that's right. The magazine doesn't survey employees. It gets its information from the companies, most of whom are also advertisers.

In any case, here's what the list says about UP's maternity leave: "New moms with one year of service can take 12 weeks of maternity leave beyond FMLA, with six fully paid."

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