PBS高端访谈:剖析工作岗位中的怀孕歧视现象

发表时间:2018-11-03内容来源:VOA英语学习网

JUDY WOODRUFF: Now the problem of bias against pregnant women in the workplace. Today marks the 40th anniversary of a law known as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The law has been crucial, making it illegal for employers to deny a woman a job, a promotion, or higher pay because she is pregnant. But a new investigation has found there are important gaps in the workplace where this is simply not being observed. And it can be even more difficult with physically demanding jobs. That's the focus of what William Brangham explores tonight. And a note for viewers This conversation discusses sensitive subjects.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Warehouses are some of the fastest growing workplaces in America, employing more than a million people. As part of an ongoing series about pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, The New York Times discovered some warehouses where pregnant women alleged that their requests for lighter duties were rejected and they then had miscarriages. The Times report focused on alleged troubles with one warehouse in Memphis, Tennessee. It's currently owned by a company known as XPO Logistics, which owns supply chain warehouses used by many name-brand corporations. Several women say they had miscarriages after what they alleged was harsh treatment at that facility. XPO denies all of these allegations. But we're going to talk about one of these cases and the larger picture here beyond just one company. Tasha Murrell had a miscarriage while employed at that warehouse in Memphis shortly before XPO bought it in 2014. She's now with the Teamsters, which is trying to organize a union at the same warehouse. And Fatima Goss Graves is the CEO of the National Women's Law Center. Welcome to you both.

FATIMA GOSS GRAVES, President, National Women's Law Center: Thanks for having me.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Tasha, I wonder if you could just start off by telling us a little bit about what happened with you. I know you were working in this warehouse while you were pregnant back in 2014. What kind of work were you doing back then?

TASHA MURRELL, Organizer, Teamsters: We process boxes, process items that come down a conveyor belt, whether it's phones, tablets, gadgets, or whatnots. It's very challenging. It's very hot in that building. We do not have air. We lift boxes 45 pounds or more. And that's picking them up, lifting them.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And I understand, at the time, that this was causing some discomfort for you. Did you did you express that to your supervisor?

TASHA MURRELL: Absolutely. February of 2014, I found out that I was pregnant. I immediately went to the doctor. He put on my doctor's note no heavy lifting. My supervisor saw that note, but she disregarded the note, because she still sent me to areas when I had to pick up 45-pound boxes and heavier boxes.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So, you're saying that you went to the supervisor and said, look, I have got a doctor's note saying I'm not supposed to lift heavy things, can I do something different? What was, what was the supervisor's reaction?

TASHA MURRELL: Yes, I did request lighter duty, because it is lighter duty. The company accommodates who they want to accommodate. So I did ask for lighter duty. And I tell my supervisor that I could not lift heavy boxes. She stated to me that I should have an abortion. And I just looked at her because I was so shocked that she told me to have a freaking abortion. So, she eventually walked away from me. I stayed at work. Maybe 15 minutes later, I was hurting so bad. I went home and went to sleep. But when I got up the next morning, my mattress was like drenched in blood. My husband was there. My two kids was there. And they were like, mom, what's wrong? My husband was, like, so shocked. He didn't know what to do, you know, me crying, me in pain. So he rushed me to the E.R. I got to the E.R., and the doctor examined me checked me and everything. He was like, sorry, Mrs. Murrell but, there's nothing we can do. You're miscarrying now. And you just have to let it take its course.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I'm terribly sorry about you having to experience that. I know you have heard this already. The supervisor at the time says that's never what she said to you. The company has denied all of these allegations. They sent us a statement that said We were saddened to learn about Ms. Murrell's loss in 2014. While we can't speak to what happened at this site before we bought it, we have created a culture that is strongly grounded in dignity and respect. Our workplace and pregnancy accommodation policies exceed what is legally required. They also allege that the Teamsters union, for whom you now work, is stirring up these stories to make the company look bad. And I'm just curious what your reaction is to that, when you hear that statement.

TASHA MURRELL: They are lying, because, again, that supervisor not only told me that, but it was several, four or five women that was pregnant at the same time that I was pregnant. It was like a trickle-down effect. I mean, and to try to put it on the Teamsters. No one was affiliated with the Teamsters. I now work for the Teamsters to speak out, but I wouldn't, I wouldn't dare allow anyone to downgrade the Teamsters, because they are the ones that gave us a platform, that gave the voiceless a voice. So I feel like this is very disrespectful to try to blame someone for their mistakes.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I want to turn to Fatima Goss Graves. When you hear a story like this, when I read about her story in The New York Times and about allegations of this kind of behavior going on in other warehouses, the thing that really struck me is that I thought surely this kind of treatment of a pregnant woman asking for lighter duty, when she has a doctor's recommendation, that that should be a legal requirement. But it's not.

FATIMA GOSS GRAVES: You know, I'm so grateful for Tasha and the other pregnant workers who are speaking out, because 40 years after Congress first passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, you would think that this wouldn't be a problem. What happened was, a few years ago, there was a Supreme Court decision that limited the interpretation, that basically made it harder for pregnant workers when they need accommodations to get them. And there has been a huge backlash to that decision. We have had over 18 states pass new laws to be more directive, to sort of say, actually, a pregnant worker shouldn't have to choose between having a healthy pregnancy and being able to stay on the job and get the income that they need, which is the really terrible choice people are having to make right now.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So, what does the law currently say? What is protected under law and what is not?

FATIMA GOSS GRAVES: Well, pregnant workers should know that they cannot experience discrimination on the job. So I don't want to put out misinformation on that. But the real challenge is around when you need an accommodation. Not all pregnant workers are going to need them.

Many people, when I was pregnant at my job, which is really cushy at a desk, I didn't actually need any accommodations.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Same with my wife.

FATIMA GOSS GRAVES: But, sometimes, you do. And we hear from workers who need really basic things. Sometimes, they just need the ability to go to the bathroom when they need to, or be able to have water, or, working as a cashier, be able to have a stool, so they're not standing all day. Unfortunately, what the Supreme Court said is that an employer can make a determination that it isn't going to provide that accommodation, if it's, if it's an unnecessary burden for them.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: There seems to be a perverse incentive in the law which says that, if you provide an accommodation for someone, then you're required to provide it for pregnant women or other women who ask for it. It seems to be incentivizing people to provide no accommodation whatsoever.

FATIMA GOSS GRAVES: And, unfortunately, a lot of employers have gotten more rigid and have made working conditions abusive for everyone.

And so they say, we treat everyone equally bad, and that is our rule. Well, that isn't a good rule for anyone. And the conditions that she described, the heat conditions, the hours without breaks, all of those are things that they should be really fixing for all workers, but certainly for workers who need them.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, Fatima Goss Graves and Tasha Murrell, thank you both very much.

朱迪·伍德拉夫:今天的主题是工作中歧视孕妇的问题。今天是《怀孕歧视法案》生效40周年。这项法律很重要。有了它,辞退女性、禁止孕妇升职或者涨薪就成了违法行为。但一项新研究发现,工作场合里,很多方面还是有重大落差的,很多人根本就没有遵守这项法律。体力劳动的工作里,要遵守这项法律,更是难上加难。这也是今晚威廉·布兰汉姆今晚的主题。高能预警:对话可能涉及敏感话题。

威廉·布兰汉姆:仓库是美国发展速度最快的工作场所,员工数超过100万人。最近《纽约时报》有关于工作场合对孕妇歧视的系列节目,该报发现,一些仓库的孕妇请求减少工作职责,而这样的请求却被遭到了拒绝,然后由于负重过多,她们流产了。《纽约时代》的这份报告主要关注的是田纳西州孟菲斯市一家仓库存在的一些问题。这家仓库现在的所有者是一家公司,名为XPO物流,其旗下的多个供应链库房是许多名牌的御用库房。一些女性表示,她们在单位受到不公的对待之后就流产了。XPO公司否认上述指控。没关系,我们接下来将讨论其中一个案例,以及从一个公司中映射出来的社会大问题。塔莎·默雷尔在孟菲斯市的一家库房工作后就流产了。在那之后不久,也就是2014年,XPO收购了这家库房。塔莎·默雷尔现在在全国卡车司机工会工作,该工会正在竭力这个库房阻止一个工会。法蒂玛·戈斯·格拉芙是全国妇女法律中心的主席。欢迎二位。

法蒂玛·戈斯·格拉芙,主席,全国妇女法律中心:感谢节目组的邀请。

威廉·布兰汉姆:塔莎女士,请问您是否可以先聊一聊您的个人经历。我知道您在这家库房工作过,那时候是2014年,您还怀有身孕。您那时候负责的是什么工作内容呢?

塔莎·默雷尔,组织者,全国卡车司机工会:我们负责处理车辆和传送带传过来的组件,包括手机、便笺、小配件等等。这项工作很有挑战性,因为楼里很热,空气不流通。我们要抬至少45磅重的箱子。就是先扛起来,然后往上运。

威廉·布兰汉姆:我能理解您,那时候您一定觉得身体很吃不消。那您是否跟自己的主管表达过身体不舒服的情况呢?

塔莎·默雷尔:当然有过。2014年2月的时候,我发现自己怀孕了。我就立刻去看医生。医嘱上写着不能抬重物。我的主管看到了这份医嘱,但她视若无睹,因为她还是会派我去抬45磅乃至更重的箱子。

威廉·布兰汉姆:所以,也就是说,您跟主管说:您看,医生给我开医嘱了,上面写着我不能抬重物。所以您能安排我做其他工作吗?那主管的反应是什么呢?

塔莎·默雷尔:没错,我是请求减轻工作负重了。公司会调解他们想调解的员工。所以我请求减轻负重。于是我跟我的主管说我不能抬重物。主管跟我说,我应该去堕胎。我当时就看着她,因为我太震惊了,她居然让我去堕胎。所以,她最后转身走开了,留我继续干重活。大概15分钟后,我撑不住了,就回家去睡觉了。等我第二天早上起来的时候,我的床垫子浸透了血。我丈夫和两个孩子都在场。他们问:妈妈,你怎么了?我丈夫也是很震惊。他手足无措,我开始大哭起来,痛苦不已。然后丈夫火速把我送到急诊室。在急诊室里,医生给我做了全面的检查。医生说,对不起,默雷尔女士,我们尽力了。但您还是流产了。希望您能节哀顺变。

威廉·布兰汉姆:我很抱歉您经历过这样的事情。我现在要说一句您已经听过的话,那就是,您的主管说:她从来没对您说过这样的话。这家公司也否认了所有指控。他们给我们发了一个声明,声明上写着:我们很抱歉默雷尔女士于2014年流产了。在我们买下这家库房之前发生的事情,我们不做评论。但我们买下之后,我们营造的企业文化是深刻植根于尊严与尊重的。我们的工作场所和孕期住宿政策要好于法律的要求。公司还称全国卡车司机工会,也就是您现在的工作单位,是在混淆视听,故意破坏他们公司的形象。我很好奇您在听到该公司这番言论的时候有何反应。

塔莎·默雷尔:他们在说话,因为我之前也说过,主管对我说过这样的话。不仅如此,当时还有四五位女性工友怀孕了。这就像涓滴效应一样,居然把脏水往全国卡车司机工会身上泼。当时我们这几个人都不在全国卡车司机工会工作。现在,我在全国卡车司机工会工作,可以畅所欲言,但我不会允许任何人诋毁工会。因为全国卡车司机工会给了我平台,让无法发声的人可以发声。所以我觉得因为一个人的过错而指责他她是很没礼貌的。

威廉·布兰汉姆:我想听听法蒂玛·戈斯·格拉芙的看法。在听到这样的故事,或者在《纽约时报》听到她故事,或者其他库房类似的情况的时候,真正让我震惊的是我觉得孕妇要求减轻工作量是再正常不过的事情,却遭受了这样的对待。毕竟她已经有了医嘱,这是法律上的诉求。但她并没有得到善待。

法蒂玛·戈斯·格拉芙:我很感谢有塔莎这样的孕妇能够发声。因为国会通过《怀孕歧视法案》已有40年,所以大家会觉得这不是个问题。而且几年前,最高法院作出判决,决定限制对该法的解释,这让孕妇更难得到应有的调解。该决定引发了轩然大波。又有至少19个州通过了新法案,发出指令称工作单位不应该让孕妇做选择题,让他们要么好好养胎,要么继续工作拿薪水。这个选择就算放在现在来看也是不人道的。

威廉·布兰汉姆:那现在的法律是怎样说的呢?法律保护了哪些权益,没有保护哪些权益呢?

法蒂玛·戈斯·格拉芙:现在的法律规定,孕妇应该知道自己不能在工作中受到歧视。所以我不想提供错误的信息。但真正的挑战是在需要进行调解的时候出现的。不是所有孕妇都需要。很多人,比如我,在怀孕的时候,也是坐在办公室里,所以我不需要这样的调解。

威廉·布兰汉姆:我妻子也是。

法蒂玛·戈斯·格拉芙:但有时候还是需要的。我们听说有些员工非常基本的诉求都无法得到满足。有时候,他们只是希望能在想上厕所的时候去厕所,或者喝水、做出纳,或者能坐凳子,这样就不用站一整天。不幸的是,最高法院表示,雇主有权不进行调解,前提是雇主觉得调解对于公司来说是不必要的负担。

威廉·布兰汉姆:该法里似乎规定了一条不合情理的规定,即如果为某位员工做调解的话,就必须要为孕妇或者申请调解的孕妇做一样的调解。这条规定似乎在鼓励公司不要做调解。

法蒂玛·戈斯·格拉芙:不幸的是,很多公司非常严苛,工作环境又很差。这样的公司会说自己对每个员工都很差,这就是规定之类的话。但这对每个员工来说都不是好的规定。比如塔莎描述的工作环境、燥热的环境或者没有休息时间的工作环境,这些方面都要为员工做出改善,当然,我是指有需要的员工。

威廉·布兰汉姆:那么,今天的节目就到此为止啦,感谢法蒂玛·戈斯·格拉芙和塔莎·默雷尔来到现场,非常感谢二位。

来自:VOA英语网 文章地址: http://www.tingvoa.com/html/20181103/pbs20181101.html