Approximately a decade after its initial debut, the bipartisan Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is on the verge of becoming federal law.
It first made it through the House of Representatives in 2020, where it was passed by an impressive vote of 329-73, but failed to make headway in the Senate. Then, in 2021, a revamped version of the act made its way back to the House of Representatives, where it was successfully passed by yet another landslide vote of 315-101, further exemplifying the bill’s widespread support.
Now, in 2022, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act faces off with the Senate once again, and lawmakers believe that this may finally be the year it becomes law.
According to Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., “this is a bill whose time has come, and we’re ready to get it done.”
What Is The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act?
First introduced in 2012, the “Pregnant Workers Fairness Act” (PWFA) was designed to ensure the proper treatment of pregnant job applicants and workers by prohibiting “employment practices that discriminate against making reasonable accommodations for qualified employees affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions” by businesses with 15 or more employees.
As specified by the bill, “unlawful employment practices” are as follows:
- Failing to make reasonable accommodations to known limitations of such employees unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on an entity’s business operation.
- Requiring a qualified employee affected by such conditions to accept an accommodation other than any reasonable accommodation arrived at through an interactive process.
- Denying employment opportunities based on the need of the entity to make such reasonable accommodations to a qualified employee.
- Requiring such employees to take paid or unpaid leave if another reasonable accommodation can be provided.
- Taking adverse actions in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment against a qualified employee requesting or using such reasonable accommodations.
In addition to ensuring reasonable accommodations and enforcing the above protections, the bill also serves another purpose: if passed, it will unify the standard for fighting pregnancy discrimination across the country.
While multiple states have passed versions of this bill or other, similarly focused legislature, these laws are a patchwork of inconsistencies and variations that lack overall cohesion or adherence to a universal standard. If PWFA is passed in the Senate, there will be a single, unifying standard for the protections and support offered to pregnant employees, and prospective pregnant employees, all across the country, regardless of what state they live in.
Find Experienced Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber
Pregnancy discrimination remains an ongoing problem, even in 2022.
If you have experienced pregnancy discrimination, or any other kind of employment discrimination, contact McOmber McOmber & Luber today. Our experienced discrimination lawyers will discuss the details of your case with you and fight for your rights.