Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
On December 29, 2022, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) was signed by President Biden and went into effect on June 27, 2023. The PWFA requires covered employers to provide “reasonable accommodations” to a worker’s known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless the accommodation will cause the employer an “undue hardship.”
The PWFA applies only to accommodations. Existing laws that the EEOC enforces make it illegal to fire or otherwise discriminate against workers on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. The PWFA does not replace federal, state, or local laws that are more protective of workers affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
Q: Who does the PWFA protect?
A: The PWFA protects employees and applicants of “covered employers” who have known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. ”Covered employers” include private and public sector employers with at least 15 employees, Congress, Federal agencies, employment agencies, and labor organizations.
Q: What are "reasonable accommodations" for pregnant workers?
A: “Reasonable accommodations” are changes to the work environment or the way things are usually done at work. The House Committee on Education and Labor Report on the PWFA provides several examples of possible reasonable accommodations. Consult with an experienced employment law attorney regarding possible reasonable accommodations for you at your job. Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations unless they would cause an “undue hardship” on the employer’s operations. An “undue hardship” is significant difficulty or expense for the employer.
Q: What else does the PWFA prohibit?
A: Covered employers cannot:
Require an employee to accept an accommodation without a discussion about the accommodation between the worker and the employer;
Deny a job or other employment opportunities to a qualified employee or applicant based on the person's need for a reasonable accommodation;
Require an employee to take leave if another reasonable accommodation can be provided that would let the employee keep working;
Retaliate against an individual for reporting or opposing unlawful discrimination under the PWFA or participating in a PWFA proceeding (such as an investigation); or
Interfere with any individual’s rights under the PWFA.
Q: What other federal laws may apply to pregnant workers?
A: Consult with an experienced employment law attorney for other laws that apply to workers affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. include:
If you have any further questions or need additional information about the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, please contact me for a FREE confidential consultation at (916) 333-4653 or Stephen_Fiegel_Esq@comcast.net.
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