Tennessee Leads Lawsuit against EEOC’s Illegal Federal Overreach

Thursday, April 25, 2024 | 03:50pm

NASHVILLE – On Thursday, Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti, alongside Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin, led a coalition of 17 States in suing the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) over its new rule mandating workplace abortion accommodations through an illegal interpretation of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act of 2022 (PWFA).

“Congress passed the bipartisan Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to protect mothers-to-be and promote healthy pregnancies, and the EEOC's attempt to rewrite that law into an abortion mandate is illegal,” Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti said in a statement. “I’m proud to lead the coalition fighting to protect the rule of law against this unconstitutional federal overreach.”

The PWFA fills a gap in federal law by ensuring pregnant women in the workplace receive accommodations to promote their comfort and health and the well-being of their babies. A diverse coalition of lawmakers, business groups, and nonprofit organizations supported that pro-family aim and secured broad bipartisan support.

Yet in a new rule, unelected commissioners at the EEOC seek to hijack these new protections for pregnancies by requiring employers to accommodate elective abortions—something the Act clearly did not authorize. The EEOC’s rule constitutes an unconstitutional federal overreach that infringes on existing state laws and exceeds the scope of the agency’s authority.

If the EEOC’s rule stands, the State of Tennessee, the co-plaintiff States, and countless employers will be forced to allocate resources to support elective abortions or face federal liability—even in states that have lawfully chosen to restrict elective abortions.  Seventeen states now bring this complaint to enjoin and set aside the EEOC’s unprecedented and unlawful mandate.

The following states joined Tennessee and Arkansas in this lawsuit: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, and West Virginia.

The filed brief can be read here.