On Monday, April 29, 2024, Bloomberg Law reported that the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the US Department of Justice intend to appeal a court decision blocking enforcement of pregnancy discrimination protections.

The agencies plan to file an appeal in the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to review a February ruling by Judge James Hendrix of the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas. Hendrix had determined that the Congressional funding package that included the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act did not have a constitutional quorum when it passed through the House of Representatives.

If implemented, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would protect workers who require pregnancy-related accommodations from discrimination. However, the law has faced legal challenges, with 17 state attorneys general filing a lawsuit on April 25th arguing the recently finalized regulations by the EEOC go too far in including protections for abortions.

This is not the first time employment discrimination rules set by the EEOC have been contested in court. Texas has previously succeeded in vacating EEOC guidelines allowing transgender employees exceptions from bathroom and dress code policies based on gender identity, as well as limiting the agency’s enforcement of rules around criminal background checks in hiring.

By appealing Hendrix’s ruling, the EEOC and DOJ aim to reinstate pregnancy discrimination protections for public employees nationwide. However, with other similar rules facing ongoing legal battles, it remains uncertain whether expanded rights for pregnant workers will ultimately withstand legal scrutiny.



Source: Bloomberg Law