"Justified on a scientific basis": Fetal protection policies, sex discrimination, and the selective use of evidence in labor law
AdvisorPhilips, Susan U.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractAs women have increasingly entered what have been traditionally male-dominated industries, there has been a corresponding increase in "fetal protection policies" implemented by those same industries, based on the premise that toxins in the workplace can be harmful to the "potential fetus." The assumption is that these toxins are transported to the fetus exclusively through the mother and that only by removing the mother from the hazardous environment can the fetus be protected. Some of these companies have been taken to court as women have challenged these policies as infringements of their constitutional rights. This paper analyzes court cases in which this issue has been argued and demonstrates how the courts maintain the patriarchal ideologies of both law and industry through the use of legal precedent and unsubstantiated "science," to uphold policies that prohibit women from working in high-paying "male" industries and maintain women's subordinate position in capitalist society.
Degree ProgramGraduate College