State Senator Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) proposed a bill that would make it illegal in Pennsylvania for employers to discriminate against applicants on the basis of their marital and familial status.
Similar laws have been passed in 17 states around the country, and those laws effectively make asking whether an applicant is married or if they have children illegal.
“Profiling based on marital or parental status occurs when potential employers ask job applicants if they have children, plan to have children, or are married,” Leach said. “All too often, a qualified applicant makes it to the final stages of the hiring process only to be asked if they have children. If the answer is yes, the job suddenly goes to somebody else.
“Some employers are concerned that a person with children will be distracted from their work, while others object to the marital status of a woman. Neither of these concerns is relevant to a person’s qualifications or potential ability to do the job. This disparate treatment is a relic of a more discriminatory past. It may have been acceptable during the era of ‘Mad Men,’ but it is not acceptable now.”
The proposed legislation is already backed by 10 co-sponsors, and advocacy groups have already taken notice.
“It’s outrageous that in this day and age, Pennsylvania employers can ask invasive questions about a woman’s maternal or marital status in a job interview,” said Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, CEO and Executive Director of MomsRising. “These questions open the door to increased discrimination against moms.”
Most news surrounding Leach has been about his campaign in Pennsylvania’s 13th congressional district, but the state legislator is still highly active Harrisburg.
As this new bill showcases, Leach is a staunch of advocate of progressive policies and was even profiled by ABC News as an “Elizabeth Warren Democrat” — named for the popular progressive Senator from Massachusetts.