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house Bill H.R. 2694

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.

jimK's Opinion
···
09/17/2020
If pregnant women are capable of doing their job, why shouldn’t their needs be accommodated? It is an affront to common sense. If an employee who sprains their ankle cannot do their job as a kickboxer because they need a crutch for a couple of weeks - they either take leave or are laid if until they can do their job. If that employee can do their job sitting at a desk but needing a little extra time to get up the stairs or to get to and from the bathroom, they would be accommodated in most cases. Why shouldn’t pregnant women who may need more bathroom time or little more time getting here or there also be accommodated. Most would not need much of this anyway. No to prejudice against healthy women just because they are pregnant.
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larubia's Opinion
···
09/17/2020
This should already be part of the ADA. Most people can work through their pregnancies with none/minor accommodations. However, some pregnancies require changes to accommodate the mother & the unborn. Pro-Life people should all be on board!!!
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Sandra's Opinion
···
09/17/2020
YES....they should but.....they should also provide health care services with Birth Control as well.....then, alot of times, this would NOT be an issue....as usual, "employers" want to have it BOTH ways......NOT help you stay UN-pregnant and NOT help you if you get pregnant
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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.

Just.Dave's Opinion
···
09/16/2020
This doesn't require action from the federal government, and they should stay out of business. If no women want to work for a certain company because they refuse to make reasonable accommodations, then that's the company's choice. Don't like it? DON'T WORK THERE! If you, as a woman, work for an employer that refuses to make such accommodations for pregnant women, you're working for the wrong company, and you deserve better. Before you get pregnant, you should already know your employer's policy on pregnancy and you should always be paying into temporary disability insurance which will cover your maternity leave... because things happen at unexpected times... we're adults, right? We can take care of ourselves... at least, I don't want big brother involved in everything I do... stop this nanny state bullshit... ADDENDUM: My wife works for the DOD, and had a new hire earlier this year. She worked for my wife only four days before covid closures, and with her being pregnant and at risk they've been paying her to stay home for the remainder of her pregnancy... the local iron workers won't make reasonable accommodations? Still, others go above and beyond. @Kathie (S): Agreed; the religious debate is almost laughable. I don't know for certain, but perhaps the religion you ask about is the Mormon "church". They treat their women like baby factories, and they must stay home and raise their children... They're against abortion, but everything else you said, it sounds like them. @Larubia: Nope. Pro life AND for a smaller, weaker federal government. Yes, this bill is better than murdering babies, but so is just about everything else... Should we really pass bills based on that logic? "Trump wants to build his wall... well, its better than murdering babies... Lets do it!" Or "bill clinton signed the three strikes law, so people will be going to prison for life sentences over a joint... but its not murdering babies so... there's that." Excellent reasoning. Trump 2020! Hey, its better than murdering babies...
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Sneaky-Pete's Opinion
···
09/17/2020
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. SneakyPete
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Bob's Opinion
···
09/17/2020
Things like this should be managed by agreements between employees and employers and companies and consumers. The government is the most ineffective, corrupt, harmful, and dangerous entity one could give this kind of decision to.
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What is House Bill H.R. 2694?

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. 

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.

Impact

Pregnant workers; employers; and workplace regulators.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2694

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthHouse Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) introduced this bill to require employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers:

“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) added:

“Under current law, women are not guaranteed reasonable accommodations to remain healthy and in the workforce during pregnancy. 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.”

Committee Republicans noted in the bill’s committee report that while they support many of the bipartisan provisions in this bill, they are 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.”

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.


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
  • The house Passed September 17th, 2020
    Roll Call Vote 329 Yea / 73 Nay
    IntroducedMay 14th, 2019

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    If pregnant women are capable of doing their job, why shouldn’t their needs be accommodated? It is an affront to common sense. If an employee who sprains their ankle cannot do their job as a kickboxer because they need a crutch for a couple of weeks - they either take leave or are laid if until they can do their job. If that employee can do their job sitting at a desk but needing a little extra time to get up the stairs or to get to and from the bathroom, they would be accommodated in most cases. Why shouldn’t pregnant women who may need more bathroom time or little more time getting here or there also be accommodated. Most would not need much of this anyway. No to prejudice against healthy women just because they are pregnant.
    Like (63)
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    This doesn't require action from the federal government, and they should stay out of business. If no women want to work for a certain company because they refuse to make reasonable accommodations, then that's the company's choice. Don't like it? DON'T WORK THERE! If you, as a woman, work for an employer that refuses to make such accommodations for pregnant women, you're working for the wrong company, and you deserve better. Before you get pregnant, you should already know your employer's policy on pregnancy and you should always be paying into temporary disability insurance which will cover your maternity leave... because things happen at unexpected times... we're adults, right? We can take care of ourselves... at least, I don't want big brother involved in everything I do... stop this nanny state bullshit... ADDENDUM: My wife works for the DOD, and had a new hire earlier this year. She worked for my wife only four days before covid closures, and with her being pregnant and at risk they've been paying her to stay home for the remainder of her pregnancy... the local iron workers won't make reasonable accommodations? Still, others go above and beyond. @Kathie (S): Agreed; the religious debate is almost laughable. I don't know for certain, but perhaps the religion you ask about is the Mormon "church". They treat their women like baby factories, and they must stay home and raise their children... They're against abortion, but everything else you said, it sounds like them. @Larubia: Nope. Pro life AND for a smaller, weaker federal government. Yes, this bill is better than murdering babies, but so is just about everything else... Should we really pass bills based on that logic? "Trump wants to build his wall... well, its better than murdering babies... Lets do it!" Or "bill clinton signed the three strikes law, so people will be going to prison for life sentences over a joint... but its not murdering babies so... there's that." Excellent reasoning. Trump 2020! Hey, its better than murdering babies...
    Like (15)
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    This should already be part of the ADA. Most people can work through their pregnancies with none/minor accommodations. However, some pregnancies require changes to accommodate the mother & the unborn. Pro-Life people should all be on board!!!
    Like (34)
    Follow
    Share
    YES....they should but.....they should also provide health care services with Birth Control as well.....then, alot of times, this would NOT be an issue....as usual, "employers" want to have it BOTH ways......NOT help you stay UN-pregnant and NOT help you if you get pregnant
    Like (27)
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    Deja vu? Time machine back to pre-1964 before The Civil Rights Bill Title VII which prohibits discrimination based on sex, pregnancy, childbirth or medical issues.
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    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.
    Like (17)
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    The key words here are reasonable accommodations. No one is asking for awards to be handed out or increases in pay; just the ability to continue to work while pregnant with some changes to protect the health and safety of both the woman and the fœtus. This should be absolutely incontrovertible for those who run around claiming to be pro-life! While pregnancy is in no way a disability, reasonable accommodation helps all involved and is generally low or no cost to the business. The business keeps an employee, the woman keeps her job and everyone is safer. It’s the decent thing to do. And for you commenting that she brought it on herself, no one gets pregnant in a vacuum. An alternative would be to dock the father’s wages to pay for accommodation or make up for her wages should she be forced to stay home. Finally, many pregnant women are not protected under the ADA or the PDA. Women working for businesses with fewer than 15 full time employees do not receive protection from these programs even if pregnancy was considered a disability.
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    I understand that this could present a challenge for some smaller businesses, but it's only fair. There is no corresponding difficulty that men go through which would prevent them from doing their job, but I'm sure if there were it would be no question. Employers should want the best talent and work hard to keep it; find ways to make reasonable accommodations during pregnancy and these women will work better for the employer.
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    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. SneakyPete
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    Ummm ah I thought this was already covered by the Civil Rights Act? Have we been magically transported to 1963? And isn’t the question: Please explain why healthy pregnant women shouldn’t have reasonable accommodations during their pregnancies? Why should women be penalized for reproducing? It’s absurd. Men aren’t.
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    Many women work because most households need 2 incomes. Accommodate women during the important part of their lives.
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    Employers should make reasonable accommodations to help new mothers and pregnant women feel comfortable in the workplace, it’s the least that can be done especially given that we are not provided a mandatory paid maternity leave from employers or the federal government. If family and children are important to American values, then supporting women is the place to start.
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    Representatives, ¶ We need you fully & actively support HR 2694 as introduce by Rep. Jerry Nadler. We clearly need Federal Legislation to compell employers to make reasonable accommodations to help pregnant women and new mothers feel comfortable in the workplace, and those employers that decline to do so or refuse to hire such workers should face punishments. ¶ The unfair treatment of pregnant and new mothers is surprisingly wide spread across industries. ¶ For some recent info and history of Discrimination due to Pregnancy see ¶ “If You’re Pregnant and Working, Know Your Rights” https://www.nytimes.com/article/pregnancy-discrimination-work.html ¶ Further, employers are failing to accommodate women under the pandemic. ¶ "Real Life Horror Stories From the World of Pandemic Motherhood" https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/06/opinion/mothers-discrimination-coronavirus.html?referringSource=articleShare ¶ ###
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    Hell yes you should accommodate for ANY reasonable health request!
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    Really? Women should be treated with so much more respect than they are now!
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    Of course. The law requires that maternity be treated as any other illness in the workplace.
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    I think that making allowances to accommodate the needs of pregnant employees would be a sound business practice for retention of employees! Employers are not being asked to make expensive changes to accommodate these temporary needs. If a male employee sustained a bad leg fracture and needed to be confined to a wheelchair in order to work there would be no question that he could leave for lunch 5 minutes early in order to get on the elevator before the rest of the employees crowded on! Ideally employers should put themselves in their employees shoes when considering their employees needs.
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    Things like this should be managed by agreements between employees and employers and companies and consumers. The government is the most ineffective, corrupt, harmful, and dangerous entity one could give this kind of decision to.
    Like (4)
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    This is no brainer!!
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    Women who want to start a family should NEVER be discriminated against!! Abortion is murder!!
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