HB Ad Slot
HB Mobile Ad Slot
EEOC Finalizes Pregnant Workers Fairness Act – and States are Challenging It
Monday, April 29, 2024

On April 15, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its long-awaited final rule and interpretive guidance implementing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA). The PWFA, went into effect on June 27, 2023. However, after much anticipation, the PWFA final rule was published to the Federal Register on April 19, 2024. The final rule of the PWFA more particularly outlines the regulations and provides clarification (and in some ways expansion) to the obligations that were explicit in the statute itself. The regulations will take effect on June 18, 2024.

The PWFA applies to employers with 15 or more employees. Such employers must provide reasonable accommodations for an employee’s or applicant’s known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or associated medical conditions, unless the accommodations would cause the employer an undue hardship.

Under the PWFA, employees are entitled to unpaid time off for situations such as prenatal appointments, fertility treatments, abortion, miscarriage, postpartum depression and mastitis, an infection that arises from breastfeeding. This includes employees who are not covered by federal family leave laws and those who have not been on the job long enough to accrue time off. Employees can ask for flexible working arrangements to deal with issues such as morning sickness. This could include a later start time, permission to work from home or permission to carry snacks in workplaces where eating is typically prohibited. Importantly, the PWFA allows for temporary dispensation from some essential job duties, differing from other federal regulations. Tasks such as climbing ladders or heavy lifting, even if those duties are essential to their jobs, can be temporarily suspended under certain circumstances.

The PWFA defines “pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition” broadly to include conditions such as endometriosis, infertility or fertility treatments, miscarriages or stillbirth, current pregnancy, past pregnancy, potential pregnancy, lactation, use of contraception, menstruation, having or choosing not to have an abortion. The contraception and abortion provisions garnered much attention during the comment period, but they survived in the final version. 

The PWFA is not without its critics and challengers. On Thursday, April 25, 2024, 17 Republican state attorneys general filed suit against the EEOC related to the PWFA. In their complaint, the states of Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah and West Virginia outlined what they believe to be the unconstitutionality of the final PWFA. In the complaint, the most major challenge relates to abortion rights and the constitutionality of accommodations related to the same.

HB Ad Slot
HB Mobile Ad Slot
HB Ad Slot
HB Mobile Ad Slot
HB Ad Slot
HB Mobile Ad Slot
 

NLR Logo

We collaborate with the world's leading lawyers to deliver news tailored for you. Sign Up to receive our free e-Newsbulletins

 

Sign Up for e-NewsBulletins