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The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), is a new federal law that requires covered employers to provide “reasonable accommodations” to meet a worker’s known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. In most instances, it is likely that an employer has knowledge or visual confirmation of an employee’s pregnancy. The solution is inexpensive, easily available, and likely minimally disruptive to the employer’s operation, not necessarily requiring the extensive interactive reasonable accommodation process mandated by the ADA.
While under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, an employee or applicant may request an accommodation due to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition by submitting the request in writing to human resources (HR). The accommodation request should include an explanation of the pregnancy-related limitations, the accommodation needed, and any alternative accommodation(s) that might be reasonable. In order to determine if an accommodation is necessary, the person may need to provide a statement from a healthcare provider that explains and supports their request.
Upon receipt of an accommodation request, HR will contact the employee or applicant to discuss the request and determine if an accommodation is reasonable and can be provided without significant difficulty or expense, i.e., undue hardship.
While the reasonableness of each accommodation request will be individually assessed, possible accommodations include allowing the individual to:
- The ability to sit or drink water
- Availability of closer parking
- Flexible hours
- Appropriately sized uniforms and safety apparel
- Additional break time to use the bathroom, eat and rest
- Leave or time off to recover after childbirth
- Excused from strenuous activities and/or activities that involve exposure to compounds that are not safe during pregnancy
An employee may request paid or unpaid leave as a reasonable accommodation under this policy; however, the company will not require an employee to take time off if another reasonable accommodation can be provided that will allow the employee to continue to work. Retaliation, harassment, or adverse action in response to an individual’s request for accommodation under this policy or for reporting or participating in an investigation of unlawful discrimination under this policy is prohibited.
To guarantee the well-being and security of your employees under the new policy, get in touch with Delta Administrative Services. Our team of experienced HR and Safety/Risk professionals are fully equipped and available to assist.