Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Federal Court Enjoins Part of the EEOC Regulations on Pregnancy Workers Fairness Act Regarding Abortion

The cases are State of Louisiana v. EEOC, et al., No 2:24-cv-00629 (W.D. La. June 17, 2024), and U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops v. EEOC, et al., No. 2:24-cv-00691 (W.D. La. June 17, 2024).

Alexandra Olson & Claire Savage, Judge Rules that Federal Agency Can't Enforce Abortion Rule in LA and MS

A federal judge on Monday granted the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, as well as employers in two Southern states, temporary relief from complying with a federal rule that would have required them to provide workers with time off and other workplace accommodations for abortions.

Judge David Joseph granted the preliminary injunction in two consolidated lawsuits, one brought by the attorneys general of Louisiana and Mississippi, and the other brought by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic University and two Catholic dioceses.

The lawsuits challenge rules issued in April by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which stated that abortions are among pregnancy-related conditions covered by the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which passed in December 2022 and took effect last year.***

His ruling came just days a federal judge in Arkansas dismissed a similar lawsuit filed by 17 states led by Arkansas and Tennessee. Eastern District of Arkansas U.S. District Judge D.P. Marshall, Jr., who was appointed to the bench by former President Barack Obama, ruled that the states lacked standing to bring the lawsuit.

“The District Court applied a common sense interpretation of the plain words of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act,” said Louisiana Attorney General Liz Murrill said in an emailed statement

The Louisiana ruling was a partial victory for the attorneys general of Louisiana and Mississippi, who had asked for a much broader emergency injunction that would have stopped the entirety of the EEOC rules from taking effect nationwide. That request had alarmed some civil rights and women’s advocacy groups, who warned that the EEOC rules are critical to the successful implementation of the law.

EEOC Regulations on Pregnancy Workers Fairness Act Partially Enjoined Before Implementation

Earlier this spring, we published an article detailing the highlights of the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (“EEOC”) new 408-page regulations on the Pregnancy Workers Fairness Act (“PWFA”).

The regulations include a provision that requires employers to consider a reasonable accommodation of an employee who chooses to have or has had an abortion. The regulations go into effect today, June 18, 2024.

However, yesterday afternoon, the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana issued a preliminary injunction that partially blocks the EEOC’s PWFA regulations from taking effect in certain states. The United States Conference for Catholic Bishops, other various Catholic-affiliated organizations, and the states of Louisiana and Mississippi filed a lawsuit seeking to prohibit the enforcement of the provisions of the EEOC’s PWFA regulations that require employers to consider reasonable accommodations for an employee who has an abortion.  

Yesterday, in ruling on the preliminary injunction, Judge David Joseph held that the regulations are unconstitutional because they usurp the role of Congress and improperly interfere with states’ rights to regulate abortion. The plaintiffs had argued that the regulations run counter to the SCOTUS decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case that overturned Roe v. Wade.

The injunction expressly states that it only covers the states of Louisiana and Mississippi. Therefore, the EEOC’s PWFA regulations are not currently enjoined in California and effective today, California employers must comply with all aspects of the regulations, including considering reasonable accommodations for employees who have or choose to have an abortion, unless the accommodation would cause an undue hardship.

Abortion, Legislation, Reproductive Rights | Permalink


Post a comment