reasonable accomodation

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently published proposed regulations to implement the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (which became effective June 27, 2023). We covered the new law here, explaining how it requires covered employers to provide reasonable accommodations to a qualified employee’s or applicant’s known limitation related to, affected by, or arising out of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless the accommodation will cause the employer an undue hardship. 

The proposed regulations are open for public comment through October 10, 2023, and must be finalized and implemented by December 29, 2023. Although the proposed regulations could change after the commenting period, their current form offers perspective on how the EEOC believes the PWFA should be interpreted.

Here are five significant ways the proposed regulations could change how US employers accommodate pregnant workers and those with “related medical conditions”:

Continue Reading 5 Ways the Proposed Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Regs Might Catch US Employers By Surprise

Effective June 27, a new federal law strengthens the rights of pregnant workers (and those who are postpartum or have a related medical condition) to reasonable accommodations at work. As discussed here, the Pregnant Worker Fairness Act fills the gap between Title VII (the federal law that outlaws sex discrimination) and the ADA (the federal statute that protects disabled applicants and employees), ensuring that pregnant workers are able to continue in their jobs with reasonable accommodations for physical or mental conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth, so long as the accommodations do not “impose undue hardship on the operation of the business.”

The PWFA does not displace federal, state or local laws that are more protective of workers affected by pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. For instance, since the 1980s, California employees who are pregnant, give birth, or have pregnancy-related medical conditions are guaranteed time off from work while disabled, without having to show that the time off would not impose an “undue hardship”  on the employer’s business.Continue Reading New Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Expands Accommodations Options for Millions of Americans

California has required all employers to provide lactation breaks (unless they can show that to do so would “seriously disrupt” their operations) since 2020. The federal government caught up late last year with the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (PUMP Act).

PUMP Act — The Basics

Effective December 29, 2022, the PUMP Act expands workplace protections for employees with a need to express breast milk. The Pump Act amends the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which required employers to provide lactating non-exempt employees with reasonable break time and a private location to express milk for one year following the birth of a child.

The previous law excluded most salaried employees, and the PUMP Act expands this right to cover all employees whether exempt or non-exempt. Now employers must provide all employees a reasonable break to express milk each time the employee has a need to express milk for one year after the child’s birth.Continue Reading ICYMI: New Federal Obligations for Employers to Provide Breaks for Nursing Mothers and Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnant Women