STATEMENT: A Better Balance Fiercely Opposes Judge’s Ruling to Block Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Enforcement for Texas State Employees

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A Better Balance launched and led the decade-long movement to pass the The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which gives workers across the country the right to receive reasonable accommodations so they can stay healthy and on the job. A federal judge in Texas yesterday issued a ruling that eliminates the ability of state employees to exercise their rights under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. 

The following is a statement from A Better Balance Co-President Dina Bakst: 

“This ruling, which eliminates the ability of Texas state employees to exercise their rights under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), is an outrage. It makes a mockery of our court system and represents an attack on pregnant workers and their families. 

As we at A Better Balance see firsthand everyday through our free legal helpline, the PWFA is a lifeline for pregnant and postpartum workers in Texas and nationwide, particularly for Black and Latina women in low-wage, physically-demanding jobs. Pregnancy accommodations are critical to reduce preterm birth, low birth weight, and maternal and infant mortality and morbidity. By gutting protections for pregnant state workers, the opinion treats those working for the state of Texas like second-class citizens, unfairly denying them the legal rights they need to safeguard their health and that of their pregnancy—and to remain attached to the workforce when they need their income the most. 

In addition, the opinion purports that the law would cost employers money. But in reality, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which was passed with bipartisan support and the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, saves employers, including the State of Texas, time and money by providing vital clarity about their obligations under the law, boosting employee morale, and reducing costly turnover and litigation. 

The ruling is not in effect yet, and Texas state employees should seek the advice of counsel if they are trying to assert their rights. The ruling does not affect the rights of employees in Texas working for private employers or municipal or county employers, nor does it affect the rights of workers in other states. 

We fiercely disagree with this blatant attempt to roll back the rights of pregnant workers, and we fully expect to see this ruling appealed.” 

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