Law: Bias Or Safety?

Safety? A federal court okays a tough health rule for women workers

The legal battle against sex discrimination has often pitted the backers of women's rights against paternalistic rules that protect -- and bar -- women from the workplace. The fight appears to have taken a new turn as a result of a major federal decision from the Chicago-based Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

In 1982 Johnson Controls of Milwaukee instituted a strict employment policy for women working in its battery-manufacturing division. It excluded women capable of bearing children from jobs that expose workers to certain levels of lead. The reason, said the company, was medical: scientific evidence indicates that exposing a mother...

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