Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie
HARTFORD, CT — The House approved a bill, 120-30, Tuesday that would expand employment protections for women in the workplace under Connecticut’s anti-discrimination laws.

The Republican lawmakers who opposed the legislation —no Democrats voted against the bill—said it would be a hardship for small business owners because the law would apply to businesses with as few as three people.

“The goal here is to keep pregnant women working,” Rep. Liz Linehan, D-Cheshire, said.

Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie
Rep. Robyn Porter and Rep. Liz Linehan (Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie)

Rep. Robyn Porter, D-New Haven, said the bill would require businesses to give pregnant women longer breaks or more frequent breaks if needed.

“Just special accommodations the employer would find reasonable,” Porter said.

She said many women don’t need accommodations and work right up until the day they go into labor. She said the legislation is meant to address the exceptions.

The legislation doesn’t define the penalties it leaves any penalty amounts up to the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.

Rep. Tom O’Dea, R-New Canaan, said he understands how women are unfairly treated and supports the intent of the bill, but he opposed the legislation because he feels like the Pregnancy Discrimination Act already covers this type of discrimination.

“It creates litigation that is going to impact our small employers quite dramatically,” O’Dea said.

He said what the legislation, although well intended,  “will drive small businesses under.”

The Connecticut Business and Industry Association supported the legislation. It now goes to the Senate.