A big win for women essential workers. What’s next?

By Noreen Farrell, Executive Director, Equal Rights Advocates

As vaccines become widely accessible, air travel is picking back up. But like 76% of low-income people who have been deemed essential workers — 60% of whom are women — airport security employees never had the luxury of working from home. That’s why it was especially important to us to fight for healthy and safe working conditions for our airport security worker clients.

I’m thrilled to share this news with you: After a 3-year legal battle, we successfully settled our case against Covenant Aviation Security last week, winning $450,000 on behalf of our clients Candice Branner, Shauna Devore, and a class of 40 other workers who were mistreated while pregnant and pushed into early unpaid leave for requesting reasonable accommodations like sitting breaks and water at their stations. And it wouldn’t be an ERA case if we didn’t demand broader system change in addition to monetary relief. The settlement requires comprehensive policy changes that will benefit thousands of current and future pregnant Covenant employees.

Let’s build on this momentum. I’m so proud to share Equal Rights Advocates’ 2021 Stronger California Agenda for low-paid workers and families, launched in partnership with 50+ advocacy groups across the state and the CA Legislative Women’s Caucus. It is a policy agenda that once again sets the standard for other states with innovative bills to combat workplace racism and wage theft; end childhood hunger and increase child care access in underserved communities; end evictions of domestic violence survivors; and include chosen family in work leave laws to end outdated legal definitions of family that exclude many LBTQ+ people. Learn more.

Let’s fight for the world we all deserve.

Noreen Farrell is the Executive Director of Equal Rights Advocates, a national civil rights organization dedicated to protecting and expanding economic and educational access and opportunities for women and girls.