Maternity leave, sexual harassment & equal pay: Where each state ranks for worker protections

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The top three states to work in for worker protection are California, Oregon and New Jersey, whereas the worst state to work in for worker protection is Mississippi, according to an August Oxfam America report.

Oxfam America is a global organization that analyzes and fights injustice related to poverty. For the study, Oxfam looked at several data points including accommodations for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, mandates for equal pay, mandates for paid family and sick leave, protections against sexual harassment and retaliation, and more.

Some insights into the rankings and scores: 

  • Worker protections consider the quality of life for workers such as women and parents.
  • Oregon ranked No. 1 overall and for worker protection. The state has laws that protect employees from sexual harassment, protect equal pay, have partially paid family leave protection and require flexible scheduling.
  • Mississippi, which ranked No. 52, does not have laws that protect workers from sexual harassment, protect domestic workers or any other worker protections analyzed for the study.
  • Four states do not have laws protecting workers from sexual harassment: Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and North Carolina.
  • Puerto Rico ranked 18th overall but ranked seventh for worker protection. Alaska ranked 20th overall but ranked 35th for worker protection.

Below is the ranking of each state, as well as Washington, D.C., and the U.S. territory Puerto Rico, along with its worker protection score.

  1. Oregon — 96.43
  2. New York — 92.86
  3. California — 92.86
  4. Massachusetts — 89.29
  5. New Jersey — 89.29
  6. Connecticut — 85.71
  7. Puerto Rico — 82.14
  8. Washington, D.C. — 77.38
  9. Hawaii — 75
  10. Washington — 71.43
  11. Colorado — 71.43
  12. Illinois — 64.29
  13. New Mexico — 61.9
  14. Vermont — 60.71
  15. Virginia — 59.52
  16. Rhode Island — 58.33
  17. Maine — 57.14
  18. Nevada — 52.38
  19. Maryland — 50
  20. Minnesota — 45.24
  21. Nebraska — 45.24
  22. New Hampshire — 45.24
  23. Delaware — 42.86
  24. Arizona — 40.48
  25. Utah — 40.48
  26. Louisiana — 38.1
  27. Ohio — 33.33
  28. West Virginia — 33.33
  29. Kentucky — 33.33
  30. Idaho — 33.33
  31. Oklahoma — 33.33
  32. Tennessee — 33.33
  33. South Carolina — 33.33
  34. Michigan — 30.95
  35. Alaska — 26.19
  36. Montana — 26.19
  37. South Dakota — 26.19
  38. Pennsylvania — 26. 19
  39. Florida — 26.19
  40. Arkansas — 26.19
  41. Iowa — 26.19
  42. Wisconsin — 26.19 
  43. Indiana — 26.19
  44. North Dakota — 26.19
  45. Missouri — 23.81
  46. Wyoming — 19.05
  47. Kansas — 19.05
  48. Texas — 19.05
  49. Alabama — 14.29
  50. Georgia — 11.9
  51. North Carolina — 11.9
  52. Mississippi — 0

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