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Are Employers Required to Give a Reasonable Accomodation to a Pregnant Employee?

If you were to ask a female employee whether her employer is required to reasonably accommodate a known limitation related to her pregnancy she would say “of course.”  Yet, she may be incorrect in her assumption.  The law only required an employer to provide a reasonable accommodation for a pregnancy related “disability;” as defined by the Americans with Disability Act (“ADA”).  And Pregnancy, in and of itself, does not meet the definition of “disability” under the ADA.    

Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

On June 27, 2023 that will change.  This is the day that the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act will take effect.   The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act will now require that employers engage in the interactive process with pregnant employees to identify a reasonable accommodation when the employer becomes aware of a known limitation of the pregnancy. 

Reasonable Accomodation

So, what does “reasonable accommodation” mean?   According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a “reasonable accommodation” is a change to the work environment or the way things ae usually done at work. 

Examples of Reasonable Accomodations

More importantly, what are some potential “reasonable accommodations” for a pregnant employee?  The U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor Report on the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act provided some examples.  These examples include: the ability to sit or drink water; receive closer parking; having flexible work hours; receiving appropriately sized uniforms and safety apparel; receive additional break time to use the bathroom, eat, and rest; take leave or time off to recover from childbirth; and be excused from strenuous activities and/or activities that involve exposure to compounds not safe for pregnancy.     

So as of June 27, 2023 if a woman was to say “of course my employer is required to reasonably accommodate a known limitation related to my pregnancy” she would be correct. 

If you, a family member, a friend, or someone you know has questions about their employment rights, please contact the employment lawyers at LaBar & Adams, P.A. at 407-835-8968.

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