New Workplace Pregnancy Rules

Pregnant employee impacted by Pregnant Worker Fairness Act sitting at desk

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), covered employers must engage in an interactive process with disabled employees seeking accommodations allowing them to perform their necessary job functions. Depending on her health conditions, a pregnant worker may be entitled to accommodations under the ADA.

Starting on June 27, 2023, there will be no room for debate whether a pregnant employee is entitled to workplace accommodations. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) goes into effect on that day, requiring employers with fifteen or more employees to provide “reasonable accommodations” to a worker’s known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or associated medical conditions unless the accommodation will cause the employer an “undue hardship.”

On its website, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) lists examples of possible reasonable accommodations:

  • The ability to sit;
  • A parking spot closer to the entrance;
  • Flexible work hours;
  • Appropriately sized uniforms and safety apparel;
  • Additional break time to use the restroom, to eat, or to rest;
  • Time off to recover from childbirth, and
  • To be excused from strenuous activities or activities that involve exposure to compounds unsafe for pregnancy.

This list is not exhaustive, and the appropriate accommodation in any given circumstance will be fact specific.

The PWFA complements a host of existing state and federal laws that prohibit discrimination, harassment, or retaliation against pregnant workers. The EEOC will soon be issuing proposed regulations to govern the implementation of the new legislation, and it will begin accepting charges for alleged violations starting June 27, 2023.

For more information, go to the EEOC’s website or contact a Wright Beamer attorney at (248) 477-6300 or info@wrightbeamer.com.

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