Davis Co-Sponsored Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Passes House
H.R. 2694 creates national standards to prevent employers from forcing pregnant women out of the workplace
Today, U.S. Representative Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) voted in support of H.R. 2694, the bipartisan Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), which creates national standards to prevent employers from forcing pregnant women out of the workplace. Rep. Davis is a co-sponsor of this legislation.
“Discrimination of any type should not be tolerated, and that’s why federal anti-discrimination laws concerning pregnant workers should be expanded,” said Rep. Davis. “I’m proud to co-sponsor and vote for the bipartisan Pregnant Workers Fairness Act so pregnant workers can remain in the workplace and work to ensure their pregnancies are healthy while on the job. I urge the Senate to pass this legislation so the President can sign it into law.”
“Today’s passage of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is good news for women in the workplace, families, and businesses across the country,” said U.S. Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer, Neil Bradley. “By establishing clear guidelines and balancing the needs of workers and employers, this legislation will allow businesses to keep valued employees in the workplace, help ensure healthy pregnancies, and remove legal ambiguities that have led to litigation. This is what happens when Republicans and Democrats work together and I urge the U.S. Senate to take up this bipartisan legislation swiftly.”
The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) wrote a letter urging members of Congress to support the PWFA, saying in part: “…In pursuit of our mission to create better workplaces for a better world, SHRM empowers people and workplaces by advancing human resource practices that maximize human potential. In our view, H.R. 2694 provides important workplace protections for pregnant workers, while ensuring employers have flexibility and clarity regarding how best to ensure pregnant employees can remain in the workplace.”
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is closely modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), prevents employers from forcing pregnant women out of the workplace. Often, employers will place pregnant workers on unpaid leave, fire them, or force them to quit when they are denied the reasonable accommodations that they need to continue working safely during their pregnancies. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act ensures that, where an employer can provide a reasonable accommodation such as a minor job modification to allow a woman to continue working, the employer must do so, unless it would pose an undue hardship on the employer. This law will ensure that women nationwide can continue contributing to a healthy and productive economy while having healthy pregnancies.
The recent Supreme Court decision in Young v. UPS recognized that pregnant workers may need temporary accommodations in the workplace but set up a complicated test for pregnant workers to prove that they were victims of discrimination. A recent report by A Better Balance found that this framework is so complicated that in over two-thirds of cases, courts allowed employers to deny a pregnant worker a necessary accommodation because they could not meet this test.1 The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, by using a framework familiar to employers under the ADA, makes it easier for employers to comply with the law, and easier for pregnant workers to request those minor modifications that will enable them to continue working.
25 states, including Illinois, have adopted some sort of pregnancy accommodation legislation. These laws have passed with bipartisan support and broad support from business, health, labor, civil rights, and women’s rights organizations.