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The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA)

Employers in Texas should know that the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act took effect on June 27. The law was signed by President Biden in December 2022. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has already started taking discrimination charges based on the new statute. The PWFA is a law requiring employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees’ known limitations associated with pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. The PWFA applies to accommodations; illegal terminations and other discriminations are covered by the EEOC.

Understanding the PWFA

The PWFA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations unless it will cause an undue hardship for the business. The PWFA does not replace local, state or federal laws that are more protective of workers affected by childbirth, pregnancy or associated conditions. Over half the states in the U.S. already have laws requiring employers to accommodate pregnant workers. The EEOC accepts charges related to the PWFA if they occurred on or after June 27.

More on the PWFA

There are situations where workers affected by pregnancy, childbirth or similar conditions may receive accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act or Title VII from the Civil Rights Act of ‘64. The PWFA applies to applicants and employees of covered employers, those in the private or public sector with at least 15 employees, including federal agencies, labor organizations and employment agencies. The PWFA prohibits any employment discrimination related to providing accommodations for workers over pregnancy, childbirth or related conditions.

The PWFA prohibits employers from requiring employees to accept accommodation without any previous discussion. Employers are prohibited from denying an applicant employment based on a reasonable accommodation. The law also prohibits employers from making employees take leave if another accommodation that would allow them to continue working can be provided. The PWFA also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for resisting or reporting unlawful discrimination.