The U.S. Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Goes Into Effect on June 27, 2023
The new Pregnant Workers Fairness Act went into effect on June 27, 2023. It expands the rights of pregnant women at work with "known limitations" due to their pregnancy, who now can ask for reasonable workplace accommodations. A reasonable accommodation is mandatory unless it causes an undue burden at work on the employer. This new federal law covers employers in the U.S. with 15 or more employees.
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) helps pregnant workers obtain reasonable accommodations at their workplace so they can continue to work due to "known limitations" arising from pregnancy.
PWFA changes things. The request no longer requires the medical limitations equal a disability, a much higher standard, under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). It also does not require any proof of discrimination, such as someone else not pregnant got the same "deal," but the pregnant person has been denied it as too difficult or without reason.
Simply put, PWFA requires employers with 15 or more employees to accommodate pregnant workers with known limitations arising from pregnancy, which is defined as "pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions of a qualified employee." [PWFA, Section 103 at (1)].
A reasonable accommodation also is likely to require an interactive process, as with the ADA. The Act refers to it without spelling out the process. [PWFA, Section 103 at (2)]. The interactive process mandate with further detail likely shall issue via regulation, as with the ADA. If not, courts will have to interpret this detail. PWFA contains an anti-retaliation provision too. [PWFA, Section 103 at (5)].
Gregg H. Mosson, Esq.
Mosson Law, LLC
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