The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) was signed into law by President Biden in the recent Omnibus Spending Bill passed by Congress. The law will be effective from June 27, 2023, and will help eliminate discrimination and promote women’s health and economic security by ensuring reasonable workplace accommodations for workers whose ability to perform their job is limited by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
Extending the ADA
Extending the framework of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the PWFA prohibits discrimination against qualified employees with known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, regardless of whether they meet the definition of a disability specified in the ADA. The law requires employers with 15 or more employees to make reasonable accommodations for such employees unless it would cause an undue hardship.
Employers cannot force employees to take a leave if another reasonable accommodation can be provided. This “no-forced-leave” position is consistent with both California and federal law. The PWFA also prohibits retaliation against employees for requesting or using a reasonable accommodation.
Implications for Employers and Employees
The PWFA is an important step towards ensuring equality in the workplace for pregnant workers. Employers must make reasonable accommodations, such as providing more frequent breaks or a modified work schedule, to help pregnant employees perform their job duties. Employers must also avoid retaliating against employees who request or use reasonable accommodations.
Employees who are pregnant or have related medical conditions should be aware of their rights and request reasonable accommodations as needed. They should also understand that they are protected from retaliation by law.
In conclusion, the PWFA will benefit pregnant workers by ensuring they are not discriminated against and can receive the necessary accommodations to perform their job duties.
Contact Heilman Law Offices, APC
Disability, leave, and accommodation can be difficult because they change the “status quo” of the work relationship. Heilman Law Offices, APC is experienced with advising both employees and employers on these issues. On the employer side, employers must be aware of the new law and take steps to comply with it to avoid legal issues. Reach out to us if we can help with compliance. Employees: if you or a loved one needs an accommodation, we can assist you with advice and counsel on an hourly basis to secure your rights and help you keep your job. Contact Heilman Law Offices, APC.