THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
I am pleased that last night Senators Dodd and Kennedy introduced the "Ending Discrimination Against Parents Act of 1999." This landmark bill protects America's working parents from unfair treatment on the job. It builds on our nation's longstanding commitment to equal opportunity. And it sends a clear message that parents striving to meet their responsibilities both at home and at the office should never be considered second-class workers.
This bill would, for the first time, protect parents and those with parental responsibilities against job discrimination. It does not stop employers from making hiring and promotion decisions on the basis of qualifications or job performance, but it does ensure that workers are not discriminated against simply because they are parents or exercise parental responsibilities. It would, for example, bar employers from taking a parent off the "fast track" because of unsubstantiated concerns that parents cannot perform in demanding jobs. Similarly, it would not allow employers to prefer applicants without children over equally or better qualified working parents, or to refuse to hire single parents.
As more mothers enter the workforce, and as more families rely on the earnings of single parents, these protections are increasingly important. We cannot afford to let working parents be held captive to baseless assumptions about their ability to work.
Already, a number of states have enacted common-sense laws that prohibit or pave the way to prohibiting discrimination on the basis of parental or familial status. I urge Congress to safeguard the interests of America's working families and give this legislation prompt and favorable consideration. Our workplaces should work for all Americans.