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house Bill H.R. 1065

Should It Be Illegal for Employers to Not Provide Reasonable Accommodations for Workers With Limitations Due to Pregnancy?

Argument in favor

Employers should make reasonable accommodations to help new mothers and pregnant women feel comfortable in the workplace, and those that decline to do so or refuse to hire such workers should face punishments.

larubia's Opinion
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05/14/2021
This wouldn’t even be a question if men got pregnant.
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jimK's Opinion
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05/14/2021
So long as pregnancy does not permanently interfere with a person’s ability to reasonably do the job for which they are hired for or being considered for hiring of, of course they must be reasonably accommodated. For example, I think a pregnant jack hammer operator might have to take leave or be reassigned to other duties because of the employer liability; I would suppose, the jack hammer would be a significant health risk, no matter how much the pregnant operator wants to continue working. … … … It is not that people ‘afflicted’ with pregnancy are contagious nor is the ‘affliction’ of pregnancy some kind of rare condition that requires excessive resources to accommodate. Many people getting vasectomies need a day or two to recover which is accommodated despite being a bit more rare of an ‘affliction’. I think the American family plan with assured paid time off for family care givers is kind of a related concept that gives people the time that they need to care for family members without unduly penalizing them because of the need to care for themselves or their loved ones. The broad definition of what constitutes a ‘reasonable accommodation’ needs some work to prevent employers, employees and especially money sucking lawyers from exploiting the vagueness of what ‘reasonable’ means in this context.
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DebbieLynn's Opinion
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05/14/2021
Gotta love that the people who claim to be “PRO-LIFE” want to make it HARDER for women who choose to keep their babies. The hypocrisy of the GQPigs & Trumpturd’s is infinite!!!! Seriously you people are beyond reproach. (Find a dictionary morons)
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Argument opposed

While much of this bill is bipartisan, the omission of a longstanding protection for religious organizations is problematic because it could force such groups to choose between actions that conflict with their faith and with federal law.

burrkitty's Opinion
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05/15/2021
It already is. Use the law on the books already.
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Ronald's Opinion
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05/13/2021
No. Make government smaller, less restrictive. Free American Citizens from Government overreach.
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JTJ's Opinion
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05/13/2021
This is not the job of the federal government. This is a state issue at best.
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What is House Bill H.R. 1065?

This bill would prohibit employment practices that discriminate against making reasonable accommodations for job applicants or employees affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Its provisions would apply to private sector employers with 15 or more employees and public sector employers.

It would be an unlawful employment practice to:

  • Fail to make reasonable accommodations to known limitations of such job applicants or employees, unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on an entity’s business operation;
  • Deny employment opportunities based on the need of the entity to make such reasonable accommodations to an applicant or employee;
  • Require such job applicants or employees to accept an accommodation that they do not want, if such accommodation is unnecessary to perform the job;
  • Require such employees to take paid or unpaid leave if another reasonable accommodation can be provided to their known limitations; or
  • Take adverse action in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment against an employee requesting or using such reasonable accommodations.

Additionally, this bill would establish enforcement procedures and remedies under various statutes that cover different types of employees in relation to such unlawful employment practices. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) would provide examples of reasonable accommodations that would be provided to affected job applicants or employees unless the employer can demonstrate that doing so would impose an undue hardship. State immunity under the Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution would be prohibited for violations under this bill.

Workers denied reasonable accommodations under this bill would have the same rights and remedies as those established under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. These include lost pay, compensatory damages, and reasonable attorneys’ fees. Public sector employees would have similar relief available under the Congressional Accountability Act, Title V of the United States Code, and the Government Employee Rights Act of 1991.

Impact

Pregnant workers; employers; and workplace regulators.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1065

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthHouse Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) introduced this bill to establish a pregnant worker’s clear-cut right to reasonable workplace accommodations, provided they do not impose an undue burden on their employer:\

“I first introduced the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) nine years ago after hearing story after story of workers facing impossible choices between a healthy pregnancy and a steady paycheck. The need for the PWFA has only grown, especially as pregnant workers have faced new risks and additional discrimination during the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s a reason the PWFA passed last Congress with such overwhelming bipartisan support—not only does it keep workers and children healthier and safer, it makes our economy stronger and American businesses more productive. That’s why the bill has support from over 200 businesses, health, civil rights, and labor organizations. I’m proud to reintroduce this crucial piece of legislation and I look forward to making it law. Pregnant workers deserve to know that they will be protected.”

When he introduced this bill in the 116th Congress, Rep. Nadler said:

“As we celebrated Mother’s Day last weekend, it is imperative that we give all moms and moms-to-be the certainty that they can stay on the job no matter what. No woman should have to choose between a healthy pregnancy and a paycheck, especially when often a simple fix -- a bottle of water during a shift, an extra bathroom break, a chair -- will allow women to stay on the job and support their families throughout their pregnancy. The PWFA creates an affirmative duty for employers to provide pregnant workers a reasonable accommodation, unless the accommodation imposes an undue hardship on the employer. We know exactly what this language means, employers know just what to expect, and, most importantly, pregnant workers know they will be protected.”

Original cosponsor Rep. John Katko (R-NY), who also supported this bill in the 116th Congress, added:

“Simply put, no mother or mother-to-be in this country should have to choose between being a parent and keeping their job. Unfortunately, current federal law lacks adequate protections to ensure pregnant workers are able to remain healthy in the workplace. This bipartisan effort puts in place a uniform, fair and familiar framework for employers and will enable women to keep working safely and provide for their families throughout pregnancy."

Over 200 advocacy organizations supporting women’s health, workers’ rights and civil rights expressed support for this legislation in a jointly written September 14, 2020 letter. They wrote: 

“The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act (ACA) and offers employers and employees a familiar reasonable accommodation framework to follow. Under the ADA, workers with disabilities enjoy clear statutory protections and need not prove how other employees are treated in order to obtain necessary accommodations. Pregnant workers deserve the same clarity and streamlined process and should not have to ascertain how their employer treats others in order to understand their own accommodation rights… The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is necessary because it promotes long-term economic security and workplace fairness. When accommodations allow pregnant women to continue to work, they can maintain income and seniority, while forced leave sets new mothers back with lost wages and missed advancement opportunities. When pregnant women are fired, not only do they and their families lose critical income, but they must fight extra hard to re-enter a job market that is especially brutal on the unemployed and on pregnant women.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one of the leading conservative, business-oriented lobbying groups in the country, supports this legislation as a “bipartisan compromise” that protects the interests of both pregnant employees and their employers. In a letter dated September 14, 2020, the Chamber announced both its support of this legislation and its plan to consider including votes on this legislation in its “How They Voted” scorecard. With reference to this bill, Jack Howard, senior vice president of the Chamber’s Congressional and Public Affairs Division, wrote:

“Employers currently face great uncertainty about whether, and how, they are required to accommodate pregnant workers.  The revised PWFA would clarify an employer’s obligation to accommodate a pregnant employee or applicant with a known limitation that interferes with her ability to perform some essential functions of her position… The Chamber worked extensively with advocates for this bill to find bipartisan agreement.  This important bill is a reminder that through good faith negotiations, legislative solutions to important questions and problems can be achieved.”

In the 116th Congress, committee Republicans noted in the bill’s committee report that while they supported many of the bipartisan provisions in this bill, they were concerned by one omission:

“Committee Republicans strongly believe workplaces should be free of discrimination, and pregnant workers deserve protections against workplace discrimination. Committee Republicans have long supported workplace protections for pregnant workers, including those in the PDA and ADA. To address circumstances in which pregnant workers may not be receiving reasonable accommodations from employers, Committee Republicans support the provisions in  the Scott ANS as a compromise measure that includes sufficient clarity regarding the bill’s application to workers and employers. However, the omission of a protection for religious organizations, which is a longstanding part of the CRA -- the nation’s flagship civil rights law -- must be addressed so that religious organizations are not faced with a conflict between their faith and the requirements of federal law. Committee Republicans stand ready to continue to work with Committee Democrats to find a bipartisan agreement on this outstanding issue.”

Republicans’ objections to the lack of a religious exemption continued in the 117th Congress. In their minority views report, House Education and Labor Committee Republicans observed that religious-organization protections are a common feature of state pregnancy-accommodation laws and argued: 

“The omission of a protection for religious organizations, which is a longstanding part of the CRA (Civil Rights Act) — the nation’s flagship civil rights law — must be addressed so religious organizations are not faced with a conflict between their faith and the requirements of federal law.”

Over 200 worker advocacy, civil rights, women’s and maternal health, and business groups support this legislation. These include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Communications Workers of America (CWA), American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and Family Values @ Work.

This legislation passed the House Education and Labor Committee by a 30-17 vote with the support of 228 bipartisan House cosponsors, including 208 Democrats and 20 Republicans, in the 117th Congress.

This legislation passed the Education and Labor Committee on a mostly party-line vote of 29-17, and has the support of 241 bipartisan cosponsors including 223 Democrats and 18 Republicans.


Of NoteAs the participation by women in the labor force and their importance to their families’ income grows, more women are working later into their pregnancies. According to the latest data, 88% of first-time mothers worked during the last trimester. However, pregnancy discrimination remains a pervasive problem. One recent survey found that 62% of workers have witnessed pregnancy discrimination on the job.

Pregnant Black and Latina workers, who are overrepresented in low-wage, physically demanding jobs, are most likely to face workplace risks associated with not being able to follow physician recommendations that pregnant women avoid or limit exposure to toxic substances, heavy lifting, overnight work, extended hours, or prolonged periods of sitting or standing. 


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: iStock.com / PeopleImages)

AKA

Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

Official Title

To eliminate discrimination and promote women's health and economic security by ensuring reasonable workplace accommodations for workers whose ability to perform the functions of a job are limited by pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
  • The house Passed May 14th, 2021
    Roll Call Vote 315 Yea / 101 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Administration
      Committee on Education and Labor
      The Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Committee on Oversight and Reform
    IntroducedFebruary 15th, 2021

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    This wouldn’t even be a question if men got pregnant.
    Like (96)
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    It already is. Use the law on the books already.
    Like (20)
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    So long as pregnancy does not permanently interfere with a person’s ability to reasonably do the job for which they are hired for or being considered for hiring of, of course they must be reasonably accommodated. For example, I think a pregnant jack hammer operator might have to take leave or be reassigned to other duties because of the employer liability; I would suppose, the jack hammer would be a significant health risk, no matter how much the pregnant operator wants to continue working. … … … It is not that people ‘afflicted’ with pregnancy are contagious nor is the ‘affliction’ of pregnancy some kind of rare condition that requires excessive resources to accommodate. Many people getting vasectomies need a day or two to recover which is accommodated despite being a bit more rare of an ‘affliction’. I think the American family plan with assured paid time off for family care givers is kind of a related concept that gives people the time that they need to care for family members without unduly penalizing them because of the need to care for themselves or their loved ones. The broad definition of what constitutes a ‘reasonable accommodation’ needs some work to prevent employers, employees and especially money sucking lawyers from exploiting the vagueness of what ‘reasonable’ means in this context.
    Like (50)
    Follow
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    Gotta love that the people who claim to be “PRO-LIFE” want to make it HARDER for women who choose to keep their babies. The hypocrisy of the GQPigs & Trumpturd’s is infinite!!!! Seriously you people are beyond reproach. (Find a dictionary morons)
    Like (42)
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    We are the only industrialized nation who does not take care of their employees. Many companies no longer offer a retirement package, and Do not provide sick leave, maternity leave, family leave. Limit holidays, limit vacation time. We can all thank the glorious Reagan administration for giving permission to reduce all benefits and pay raises for employees. People think Democrats and their tiny employee proposals are socialistic but far from it. Time for companies to return taking care of their money makers.
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    It is shameful that we need legislation to force reasonable work accommodations for pregnant people. Women in our country often end up with the “short end of the stick” on a variety of issues rather than equality or equity. Yes, it should be illegal not to provide accommodation for pregnancy, birth and recovery.
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    Our country is very behind when it comes to gender equality in the workplace. Many employers still punish women for having families, by paying them less, denying accommodations, and providing very little time off. Our workforce can never be great until we catch up with most of the Western World by taking better care of mothers and families, including by providing paternity leave when asked. This is a good start.
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    Pregnancy is a health issue and needs to be treated as such.
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    I thought we already had a law protecting pregnant women in the workplace? If there are missing pieces like enforcement then it needs updating. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) (1978) is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: 1) forbids discrimination based on pregnancy when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, such as leave and health insurance, and any other term or condition of employment. 2) If a woman is temporarily unable to perform her job due to a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth, the employer or other covered entity must treat her in the same way as it treats any other temporarily disabled employee. Claims have been filed for 40+ years with U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). A 15 year period from 1997 to 2011 had 6,000 claims which is a 50% increase over the 4,000 claims from before 1997 while 2012 to 2017 saw little change in the number of claims. In addition, 23 states and Washington, D.C., have passed laws expanding protections for pregnant women in the workplace. https://www.eeoc.gov/pregnancy-discrimination https://9to5.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Pregnancy-Discrimination-Act.pdf https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/women/news/2018/11/02/460353/efforts-combat-pregnancy-discrimination/ https://schac.sc.gov/sites/default/files/Documents/HAC/Employment%20Discrimination/fs-preg.pdf
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    [Updated to Include Link to the Full Text of the Bill] Representatives, You are most strongly urged to support H.R.1065 - Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. It is a very well-written piece of legislation that prohibits employers from refusing to make reasonable accommodations for qualified employees affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions . This bill focuses on one type of discrimination against pregnant employees: refusal to make accommodations. Other types of discrimination include but are not limited to * Refusal to Hire * Harassment * Changing Employment Opportunities. * Denying or Restricting FMLA Leave * Firing Since the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act went into effect, we've had even high-profile “businessmen” like Michael Blomberg face credible allegations of abusive words and behaviors toward pregnant employees; consequently, we can easily imagine that kind of behavior, and much, much worse in government and companies large and small across the country. We can easily find accounts among extended families, friends, and anecdotally on the world wide web. Is there overlap? Probably, but I leave that to legal scholars. In general, it's best to give district attorneys the tools needed to protect our fellow citizens and prosecute offenders. See Summary H.R.1065 - 117th Congress (2021-2022): Pregnant Workers Fairness Act | Congress.gov | Library of Congress https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/1065 Full Text Text - H.R.1065 - 117th Congress (2021-2022): Pregnant Workers Fairness Act | Congress.gov | Library of Congress https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/1065/text Mike Bloomberg has been battling women’s allegations of sexist, profane comments for years https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/politics/michael-bloomberg-women/ Also, see Fact Sheet on Recent EEOC Pregnancy-Discrimination Litigation | U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission http://www.eeoc.gov/fact-sheet-recent-eeoc-pregnancy-discrimination-litigation I think the bill does address questions like @jimK's what-about questions like jack hammer operator.
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    It is shameful that this needs to be discussed.
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    No. Make government smaller, less restrictive. Free American Citizens from Government overreach.
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    Surprised the “save the children” crowd is on the fence about this.
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    All other wealthy, democratic countries have some form of help or pregnant employees. There is no reasonable argument against this. Yes, the employer didn't ask for the pregnancy. But that's stupid; because a woman is pregnant does not mean she can not do her job. A woman can do her job. Pregnancy leave is another top issue. Will one month off of work for one employee harm you soooo much that you just HAVE to make sure she works herself until the very day she is due? That is dangerous for both the woman and the child, and the wellbeing of both. The 'pro-lifers' who are INSISTING that if you are pregnant, you must have the child are SO HYPOCRITICAL because if the woman has the child, okay, she needs to be able to support her child. If she is not protected by the law, she could be fired and would be left destitute to care for a child that YOU forced her to have through anti-abortion laws (which are not popular or well liked). The absolute sexism and idiocy that surround the opposing argument for this issue are infuriating. Support women. They have done absolutely nothing to you. They WILL have their child, or they won't. But either way, you should support them. Having paid family leave, good support systems, and a not toxic workplace will help and improve the relationship between the employer and the employee. Every developer country has this. They have managed to not go bankrupt. In fact, they have managed to help their employees and improve company culture and their country's attitude to pregnancy. It is idiotic to suggest that this isn't an intelligent decision. So shut up and pass a law. Pass twenty. But make sure it happens.
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    Employers should treat pregnant women as temporary disabled and should by ADA supply reasonable accommodation(s).
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    This is not the job of the federal government. This is a state issue at best.
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    Pregnancy is not considered a disability unless the employee's performance is hampered due to the pregnancy. In that case, the pregnancy should be treated as any other disability. It is unfortunate that the government has to monitor so many problems in the work places but someone has to protect the rights of the workers.
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    Pregnant women must not be put at risk of losing their jobs or full work hours simply because of temporary physical limitations during pregnancy and early post-childbirth. Discrimination against an employee due to pregnancy status is wrong and immoral—and should be illegal.
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    It is an accepted social norm to make accommodations for pregnant women, as it should be. A pregnant woman’s body goes through massive changes in short amount of time and I think people appreciate this and are willing to make allowances. Employers may take issue with frequent bathroom breaks, necessary due to the baby tap dancing on her bladder. These needs being met in an environment of stress can impact the health and welfare of the mom. It should be illegal for employers to punish pregnant employees for attending to their physical needs.
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    Please support this bill, one more step towards equality!
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