As of June 27, 2023, employers with 15 or more employees must provide pregnancy-related accommodations to employees and applicants under the federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA).
Under the PWFA, employees are entitled to accommodations for a condition related to or affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition. The condition can be physical or mental. Pregnancy-related conditions include, among others, morning sickness, gestational diabetes, post-partum depression, and lactation.
This law expands employer obligations beyond what is already required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in that being entitled to a pregnancy-related accommodation does not require that the employee’s condition rise to the level of disability. Also, employees are entitled to accommodations even if they can’t perform their essential job functions on a temporary basis. Conversely, employers are only required to make an ADA accommodation in cases where the employee can still perform the essential functions of their job.
Under the PWFA, employers will not be able to require the employee to take leave if a reasonable accommodation is available so that the employee may remain at work.
Employers should engage the employee in the interactive process to determine reasonable accommodations. As with the ADA, under the PWFA, the standard for denying reasonable accommodations due to undue hardship on the employer is very high.
If an employer has questions about whether a reasonable accommodation might present an undue hardship and would not be provided under the ADA or the PWFA, the attorneys at Pickrel, Schaeffer & Ebeling can help. Please feel free to contact Kristina Curry at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937.223.1130.