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• The Washington Post has an interesting story about how Walmart has "overhauled its pregnancy policy, " a move that could "ease the way for hundreds of thousands of … female employees who could have babies down the road."

The backstory, is that pregnant Walmart employees who felt the company could have been more accommodating began networking on social media, and then were contacted by OUR Walmart, which conducted a campaign for pregnant workers' rights.

"Such problems certainly aren't unique to Wal-Mart," the story says. "The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 5,797 pregnancy-related complaints in 2011, from all sectors of the economy; with more women working through pregnancy, employers have been figuring out how to modify their duties as they become more difficult to perform."

Under Walmart's original policy, the Post writes, "pregnant women could only qualify for a change in their work environment that was 'both easily achievable and which will have no negative impact on the business,' which would not include 'creating a job, light duty or temporary alternative duty, or reassignment.' That meant they weren't entitled to the same consideration a disabled person with comparable handicaps would receive."

While Walmart at first resisted pressure to change its policy, it was also facing charges that its policy toward pregnant women violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

On March 5th, the Post reports that Walmart "issued a new policy, which says that women 'may be eligible for reasonable accommodation' if because of a 'temporary disability caused by pregnancy' they 'need assistance to apply for a new job, or to perform the essential functions of a job.' In theory, that means that pregnant Wal-Mart employees are more likely to be given less physically demanding work if they're having difficulty carrying out their duties."
KC's View:
The kicker, of course, is that Walmart says that the public pressure and even some filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on this matter had absolutely nothing to do with it decision to revise its policies regarding pregnant women.

Yeah, right.

I know there are all sort of legal reasons that companies don't want to offer any credit to their critics, but it seems disingenuous to me. What would be so wrong about saying, "These folks had a good idea, and it allows us to be better employers and better people."