United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Question 59: How does the U.S. Supreme Court decision in

the case of United Auto Workers (UAW) vs Johnson Controls

affect the NRC requirement in 10 CFR 20.1208, "Dose to an

embryo / fetus," and the guidance in Regulatory Guide 8.13,

"Instruction Concerning Prenatal Exposure?"

Answer: That decision has no effect on either the

requirement or the guide, which are consistent with that

decision. (Reference: Letter from Bill M. Morris, NRC / RES,

to William E. Morgan, the Boeing Company, August 2, 1991).

For the information of those not familiar with this

decision, the Supreme Court in this case overturned a U.S.

Court of Appeals decision. In its decision, the Supreme

Court responded in the negative to the question, "May an

employer exclude a fertile female employee from certain

jobs because of its concern for the health of the fetus a

woman might conceive?" The court held that Title VII of

the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, forbids

sex-specific fetal-protection policies. The majority of

the court concluded with a very strong statement: "It is

no more appropriate for the courts than it is for

individual employers to decide whether a woman's

reproductive role is more important to herself and her

family than her economic role. Congress has left this

choice to the woman as hers to make." (References:

20.1208, Regulatory Guide 8.13)

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, March 29, 2012