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What are my rights as a pregnant employee?

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2024 | Employment Law |

In 2023, the Pregnant Workers Act (PWFA) came into effect. This federal law was designed to coincide with state regulations and enhance the rights of pregnant workers.

Unfortunately, pregnancy discrimination can occur and it can have a devastating effect on victims. What rights do pregnant workers have under the PWFA and what are the obligations of employers?

An overview of the PWFA

The PWFA applies to pregnant workers or those with known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth or other related conditions. This is an important detail because not only are pregnant workers protected by the act, but it can also protect those with physical or mental health impairments related to pregnancy

Reasonable accommodations

The PWFA takes a very similar stance to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it comes to reasonable accommodations. The law requires employers to make reasonable adjustments to the work environment that enable employees with disabilities to have equal access to work opportunities.

Examples of reasonable accommodations may include access to the building, comfortable seating, flexible work schedules, appropriately fitting safety equipment etc.

Employer obligations

For the PWFA to apply, the company must have at least 15 employees. Companies of this size may only refuse to make reasonable accommodations if they can prove that doing so would cause undue hardship to the business. Employers also cannot:

  • Force employees to accept an accommodation that is unsuitable
  • Deny job opportunities based on reasonable accommodation requests
  • Force an employee to leave if a reasonable accommodation is possible
  • Retaliate in any way if an employee asserts their PWFA rights

As a pregnant employee, it is vital to know your legal rights. We help employees who have faced discrimination at work, including discrimination for becoming or planning to become pregnant. Learn about your options by contact us.