Miscarriages Prompt Call for Inquiry

Posted December 4, 2018 10:22 p.m. EST

Ninety-seven members of the House of Representatives on Tuesday called for a congressional investigation into working conditions at XPO Logistics, which operates a Memphis, Tennessee, warehouse that several women said was rife with pregnancy discrimination.

The letter, sent to the top two members of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, cited a New York Times investigation that revealed in October that several women who packaged Verizon products at the warehouse had miscarriages. The women told The Times that they lost their pregnancies after XPO managers refused their requests for light duty and, in some cases, ignored their doctors’ notes recommending a reprieve.

The letter was organized by two Democrats, Reps. Steve Cohen of Tennessee and Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut. The lawmakers also urged the committee to consider the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, a bill that would compel employers to accommodate pregnant women unless doing so imposed an undue hardship. Under current federal law, employers have to provide light duty or extra rest breaks for pregnant workers only if they are doing so for other workers.

“We take seriously recent allegations concerning one of our warehouses and have launched an independent investigation,” Molly Morse, a spokeswoman for XPO, said in a statement Tuesday. “When the investigation is completed, we are committed to implementing any recommended improvements.”

Last month, nine senators wrote letters to the chief executives of XPO and Verizon, urging the companies to improve their workplace conditions.

In a statement Tuesday, DeLauro said the XPO workers’ allegations about pregnancy discrimination were “egregious” and called on Congress to “act immediately to ensure pregnant women are adequately protected in the workplace.”