On June 27th, 2023, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) will go into effect. The goal of this Act is to ensure that pregnant workers receive reasonable accommodations for their known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
If you are a private employer with 15 or more employees, or any state or federal employer, the PWFA applies to you and your covered employees.
General overview of the PWFA
The PWFA requires employers to work with each pregnant employee to decide what accommodations would be reasonable in terms of their “known limitations” related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Employers are not required to provide accommodations that would be an undue burden on their business. After engaging in the required interactive process with the employee, an employer may require the employee to accept reasonable accommodations.
Employers may not retaliate against an employee who requests an accommodation. That means the employer may not change the terms or conditions of their employment, deny them advancement opportunities, or terminate them because they requested an accommodation. Also, the employer may not require the employee to take any form of leave if another reasonable accommodation can be provided.
What types of accommodations might be reasonable?
Employers and pregnant employees should discuss what limitations or symptoms their pregnancy (or childbirth or a related medical condition) has caused that necessitate an accommodation.
Some reasonable pregnancy accommodations may include:
- more frequent breaks for urination, lactation, or to access medications
- shift changes to accommodate medical appointments
- a more regular schedule
- the ability to sit during their shift, if possible
- the ability to have food or drinks during their shift
- a limitation on how much weight they must lift
- exemption from activities that might be hazardous
If you are an employer with questions about whether or how to provide a reasonable accommodation for a pregnant employee, or if you are seeking an accommodation pursuant to the PWFA or another federal or state law, contact Thatcher Law Firm at 301-850-1246. www.ThatcherLaw.com. Follow us on: