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Federal Judge Blocks Enforcement of Pregnant Workers Fairness Act in Texas

A federal judge in Texas limited the federal government’s ability to enforce the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) in Texas saying that the law was passed in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s quorum requirements. Enacted in December 2022, the PWFA requires covered entities to provide reasonable accommodations to a worker’s known limitation related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless the accommodation will cause the employer undue hardship. For purposes of the PWFA, “covered entities” include public or private employers with 15 or more employees, unions, employment agencies, and the federal government.

Texas sued the Department of Justice, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and other federal agencies in February 2023 to block enforcement of the law in the state. The lawsuit alleged that since only 201 members of the House were present to vote on the PWFA, a quorum was not met. It claimed the 2020 rule permitting non-present House members to be included in the quorum count and vote by proxy shouldn’t be allowed to stand.

Judge James Hendrix of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas sided with the state and prohibited the agencies from enforcing the PWFA in Texas.

The case is Texas v. Dep’t of Justice.

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