June 29, 2023

Employers must provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers under new federal law

McKnights Senior Living

Employers must make reasonable accommodations for a worker’s known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which went into effect on Tuesday.

The PWFA builds on existing protections against pregnancy discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The new law could apply to an estimated 2.8 million workers annually, NBC News reported

“For workers and job applicants, the PWFA will help ensure economic security at a critical time in their lives,” Employment Opportunity Commission Chair Charlotte A. Burrows said in a statement. “The EEOC stands ready to support employers as they carry out the PWFA’s directives and to support workers in receiving the accommodations they are entitled to under the PWFA.”

The EEOC will accept charges of discrimination under the new statute for incidents that occurred on or after June 27. The law takes into account situations in which an accommodation will cause the employer an “undue hardship.” The EEOC does not specify what qualifies as “undue hardship.”

Further, the law forbids an employer from requiring a qualified employee affected by pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions to accept an accommodation “other than any reasonable accommodation arrived at through the interactive process.”

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