ACLU Statement For Hearing on Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (H.R. 2694)
The ACLU submitted this statement in support of H.R. 2694, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), for the record of an Oct. 22, 2019 hearing in the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services. At a time when women constitute nearly 60 percent of the workforce and contribute significantly to their families’ economic well-being, PWFA is a dire necessity. Too many women continue to be marginalized at work because of their decision to become pregnant and have children. This kind of discriminatory treatment has become most obvious when pregnant workers – predominantly women in physically demanding or male-dominated jobs, low-wage workers, and women of color – request temporary accommodations to address a medical need and instead are terminated or placed on unpaid leave, causing devastating economic harm.
PWFA requires businesses with fifteen or more employees to provide workers with temporary, reasonable accommodation for known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions if doing so would not place an undue hardship on business. It also prohibits employers from forcing a pregnant employee to take a leave of absence if a reasonable accommodation can be provided; prevents employers from denying job opportunities to an applicant or employee because of the individual’s need for a reasonable accommodation; prevents an employer from forcing an applicant or employee to accept a specific accommodation; and prohibits retaliation against individuals who seek to use PWFA to protect their rights.