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Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Takes Effect Today

A pregnant woman looking at her phone while sitting on the couch.

​The obligation under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) to provide reasonable accommodations for known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions kicks in today. We've gathered articles on the news from SHRM Online and other media outlets.

EEOC Action

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will now start accepting PWFA charges. Charges submitted to the EEOC must be based on events that occurred on or after June 27.

(The National Law Review)

Other Protections

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), which amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, already prohibited pregnancy discrimination. The PDA requires covered employers to treat employees affected by pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions the same as other similarly situated employees. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with certain conditions related to pregnancy that qualify as a disability—for example, gestational diabetes—though many other common pregnancy-related conditions are not covered.

The PWFA applies to employers with 15 or more employees, unless the accommodation would cause the employer an undue hardship.

(Ogletree Deakins)

PWFA Coordination

The PWFA's accommodation provisions are based on the ADA's, but under the PWFA, an employer may temporarily have to eliminate an essential job function. That's not the case under the ADA.

(SHRM Online)

Reasonable Accommodations Under the PWFA

Reasonable accommodations might include assigning light duty, permitting more frequent bathroom breaks or allowing pregnant workers to drink water at their workstations.

Other accommodations under the PWFA might include:

  • The ability to sit at a workstation.
  • Closer parking.
  • Flexible hours.
  • Appropriately sized uniforms and safety apparel.
  • Additional break time to use the bathroom, eat and rest.
  • Leave to recover from childbirth.
  • Reassignment from activities that are strenuous or involve exposure to compounds not safe for pregnancy.

(AxiosSHRM Online and White and Williams)


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