Employer Fetal Protection Policies at Work: Balancing Reproductive Hazards with Title VII Rights
84 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2009
Date Written: October 26, 1991
Perhaps one of the most compelling divisive workplace issues of the decade surrounds the use of increasingly complex chemicals in work environments which raises legal, economic, medical and moral concerns, especially as employers adopt employment policies meant to avoid the specter of massive tort liability for workplace exposure injuries to workers or third parties. In the case, /International Union v. Johnson Controls, the Supreme Court struck down an employer's policy prohibiting fertile women from work involving exposure to the well-known teratogen, lead, where the employer could not produce a defense to this facially discriminatory policy. The authors analyze the Court's opinion and concurrences, and note the important tensions still needed resolution after the case: namely the public policy mandate to protect all populations from workplace toxins; to eradicate toxins from the workplace; and to promote worker and safety health of both men and women.
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