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The Long Awaited Birth of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

On Behalf of | Jul 19, 2021 | Pregnancy Litigation

Pregnant women across America face workplace discrimination at alarming rates. In fact, in the last 10 years alone, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) and the Fair Employment Practice Agencies in the United States have dealt with upwards of 50,000 pregnancy discrimination claims, which does not include unreported incidents.

While there are protections that have been put in place to safeguard the rights of women in our labor force, further reforms and legislation are still necessary. A proposed bill, which includes the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (“PWFA”), may explicitly provide pregnant employees and their families with long awaited recourse for discrimination.

How the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Will Change Lives  

The PWFA will hold employers responsible in providing reasonable accommodations to employees that are affected by medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth. The Act will prevent employers from forcing pregnant workers to accept paid or unpaid leave and insufficient accommodations in place of reasonable ones. In addition, the PWFA will also encourage an interactive process between employers and pregnant workers to determine what reasonable accommodations are appropriate in each situation. The Act will even go as far as finding no State immune under the 11th Amendment of the Constitution from a suit in State court for a violation of this Act.

History of PWFA

The PWFA has been unsuccessfully proposed by federal legislators every year since 2012. However, this is the year their efforts come to fruition.

The bill proposing the PWFA, H.R. 1065, was introduced into the House on February 15, 2021. On May 14, the House passed the bill with huge bipartisan support, in a vote of 315 to 101. The latest action was on May 17, when the bill was received in the Senate and then referred to the Committee on Health, Educations, Labor, and Pensions.

It is very likely that this bill will become law, and when that time comes, millions of women and their families worldwide will rejoice in the birth of a new era for pregnant women’s rights.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting (at Work)

Employees experiencing pregnancy and related conditions should know:

  • Lactation falls within the category of protected pregnancy-related conditions and must be considered by employers.
  • Pregnancy-related benefits cannot be limited to married employees.
  • An employer cannot refuse to hire a pregnant woman because of her pregnancy or pregnancy-related condition.
  • A pregnant woman should not be assigned to a less desirable position because of her pregnancy or pregnancy-related condition.

Reach Out to an Experienced California Discrimination Lawyer

If you believe you are facing discrimination in the workplace because you are pregnant or have a pregnancy-related condition, get in touch with the dedicated and experienced discrimination lawyers at Makarem & Associates via call at 800-610-9646 or email at [email protected]. We guarantee you will be in good hands!