U.S. Senate Committee Passes Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved the bipartisan Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, S. 1486.  U. S. Senator Robert Casey (PA) is prime sponsor of the bill.

The bill is supported by several labor and business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which seeks to promote women’s health and economic security by requiring reasonable workplace accommodations for staff whose capabilities are limited due to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.

A House version of the bill, H.R. 1065, passed the House in May. Specifically, the House bill declares that it is an unlawful employment practice to–

— Fail to make reasonable accommodations to known limitations of such employees unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on an entity’s business operation.

— Require a qualified employee affected by such conditions to accept an accommodation other than any reasonable accommodation arrived at through an interactive process.

— Deny employment opportunities based on the need of the entity to make such reasonable accommodations to a qualified employee.

— Require such employees to take paid or unpaid leave if another reasonable accommodation can be provided; or

— Take adverse action in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment against a qualified employee requesting or using such reasonable accommodations.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission must provide examples of reasonable accommodations that shall be provided to affected employees unless the employer can demonstrate that doing so would impose an undue hardship.

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