Starting June 27, 2023, a new law known as the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) will come into effect. The PWFA mandates that covered employees must provide reasonable accommodations to workers with known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless such accommodations would impose an undue hardship on the employer.
The House Committee on the PWFA has outlined several examples of reasonable accommodations that employers should consider. These include allowing the worker to sit or have access to drinking water, providing closer parking, offering flexible working hours, ensuring appropriately sized uniforms and safety apparel, granting additional break time for bathroom use, eating, and resting, permitting leave or time off to recover from childbirth, and exempting the worker from strenuous activities or exposure to unsafe compounds during pregnancy. Employers are obligated to provide reasonable accommodations, except when they can demonstrate that doing so would create a significant difficulty or expense.
Furthermore, the PWFA prohibits certain practices by covered employers. These include requiring employees to accept accommodations without a discussion, denying job opportunities based on the need for reasonable accommodations, mandating leave when alternative accommodations can enable the employee to continue working, retaliating against individuals for reporting or opposing discrimination under the PWFA, and interfering with any individual's rights protected by the PWFA.
It is important to note that other federal laws exist to protect employees affected by pregnancy. Title VII safeguards employees from discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 grants eligible employees unpaid leave for specific family and medical reasons. Additionally, the PUMP Act provides additional accommodations and protections for nursing mothers.
Please keep in mind that this summary provides a general understanding of the PWFA and related laws, but it is advisable to consult official sources or seek legal advice for specific details and interpretations regarding employment regulations.
Posting Implications: The EEO is required to issue regulations to carry out this new law. The PWFA requires certain “reasonable accommodations” to a worker’s known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. This will likely bring a change to the EEO Know Your Rights Notice.