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Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Blocked in Texas

03 Apr

Update Applicable to:Effective date
All employers with at least 15 workers in TexasMarch 5, 2024

What happened?

On February 27, 2024, a federal judge for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas blocked enforcement of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) against the State of Texas on the grounds that it was passed by Congress in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s quorum requirements.

What are the details?

The PWFA requires an employer with fifteen or more employees to provide reasonable accommodation to workers for known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions unless the accommodation would cause the employer an undue hardship.

In late 2022, Congress passed the PWFA as part of a funding package under consideration, with only 205 members of the U.S. House of Representatives present and voting in favor of it.

Texas sued the U.S. Department of Justice and others arguing that (1) because only 205 congressional members were physically present to vote on the PWFA, the House of Representatives failed to meet a quorum and (2) that a rule implemented by Congress in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, which permitted non-present congressional members to vote by proxy and thus be counted toward quorum requirements, was unconstitutional.

On March 5, 2024, this order takes effect. It has been stayed for seven days to allow the defendants to file an appeal.

The EEOC and other federal agencies are prohibited from enforcing the PWFA against the State of Texas. This injunction does not apply to private employers or other governmental employers.

The injunction does not extend to private employers or other governmental employers. 

Business Considerations

  • Employers in Texas should stay informed about developments related to the PWFA because this ruling has also opened the door for states and private employers to challenge the enforceability.


Source References

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