September 18, 2020 (WASHINGTON INSIDER ALERT) - On September 17, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2694, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. The bill, which was introduced in May 2019 by Representative Jerry Nadler (D-NY), would require employers with 15 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers, workers who have just had a child, or those with related medical conditions unless the accommodation would cause undue hardship for the employer.
The legislation forbids retaliation against pregnant workers for requesting an accommodation and bars employers from denying workers opportunities based on pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. The bill was passed by a bipartisan vote of 329-73; 226 Democrats and 103 Republicans voted in support of the legislation, with 72 Republicans and one Independent voting against.
Those who opposed the bill expressed concern over the legislation’s exclusion of a provision from the Civil Rights Act that exempts religious organizations from being forced to make employment decisions that conflict with their faith. During debate of the legislation, those Republicans who voted against tried unsuccessfully to offer an amendment that would incorporate the provision into H.R. 2694.
The legislation now goes to the Senate, where its outcome is uncertain. However, CUPA-HR will continue to monitor the legislation as details become available.