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Governor Cooper Signs Executive Order Supporting Women Workers, Healthy Families, Strong Workforce Executive Order No. 82 Extends Nondiscrimination Protections and Workplace Accommodations to Pregnant Workers, Encourages Strong Economy

RALEIGH

Governor Roy Cooper today issued Executive Order No. 82, highlighting North Carolina’s commitment to improving opportunities for women in the workforce, supporting healthy families, and strengthening our economy. The executive order calls for the State of North Carolina to extend workplace protections and modifications to pregnant employees.

“Providing workplace protections for women who are expectant mothers is critical for healthy families and a healthy economy,” Gov. Cooper said. “These protections will encourage wellness and help our state retain experienced, talented workers to stay economically competitive.”

The executive order affirms North Carolina’s commitment to developing a robust workforce by enriching work environments and retaining skilled employees. The order extends protections and workplace modifications to pregnant employees of any North Carolina agency, department, board or commission under the purview of the Governor’s Office. The order also directs cabinet agencies to prevent discrimination, harassment, and retaliation against pregnant state employees.

The North Carolina Office of State Human Resources will educate agency managers and staff about pregnancy protection obligations. The executive order also encourages cabinet agencies to promote the policy among contractors and subcontractors.

Today’s executive order addresses a gap in protections for North Carolina’s workforce and promotes health among women, children and families. The North Carolina Department of Administration’s 2018 Status of Women report found that the share of women in our labor force decreased from 2002 to 2016 despite significant economic growth and population growth over the same period. The U.S. Department of Labor also lists North Carolina as one of just four states that provides no state-level protection against pregnancy discrimination. Protections and modifications for pregnant workers also boost workplace productivity, retention and morale and reduce the risk of poor birth outcomes.

“Women make our state and our economy stronger every day,” Gov. Cooper said. “We must do our part to make it possible for women to work safely and comfortably throughout their pregnancies.”

Strengthening North Carolina’s workforce is a primary focus for the Cooper administration. Earlier this year, Gov. Cooper announced NC Job Ready, a workforce development initiative built on three core principles: skills and education attainment, employer leadership, and local innovation.

A copy of Executive Order No. 82 can be read HERE, and a fact sheet about the executive order is available HERE.