Under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, an employer must have a good-faith conversation with a worker seeking reasonable accommodations about the worker’s needs and reasonable accommodations that could meet those needs. This is called the interactive process. The interactive process can occur in person, by phone, over email, or in other ways. For example, Human Resources might have a meeting with a pregnant worker requesting accommodations to discuss what job duties the employee can safely do or talk about available positions that the employee could temporarily transfer to.
Who does the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act protect?
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.
What are some examples of reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers?
The House Committee on Education and Labor Report on the PWFA provides several examples of possible reasonable accommodations including the ability to sit or drink water; receive closer parking; have flexible hours; receive 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. 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.
What else does the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act prohibit?
Covered employers cannot:
What other federal laws may apply to pregnant workers?
Other laws that apply to workers affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, include: