EEOC Issues Final Regulation on Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

by | May 6, 2024 | Discrimination |

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today issued a final rule  to implement the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) providing important clarity that will allow pregnant workers the ability to work and maintain a healthy pregnancy and help employers understand their duties under the law. The PWFA requires most employers with 15 or more employees to provide “reasonable accommodations,” or changes at work, for a worker’s known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless the accommodation will cause the employer an undue hardship.

The PWFA builds upon existing protections against pregnancy discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and access to reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act  The EEOC began accepting charges of discrimination on June 27, 2023, the day on which the PWFA became effective.

The final rule will be published in the Federal Register on Apr. 19.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is a win for workers, families, and our economy. It gives pregnant workers clear access to reasonable accommodations that will allow them to keep doing their jobs safely and effectively, free from discrimination and retaliation,” said EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows.

Highlights from the final regulation include:
· Numerous examples of reasonable accommodations such as additional breaks to drink water, eat, or use the restroom; a stool to sit on while working; time o for health care appointments; temporary reassignment; temporary suspension of certain job duties; telework; or time o to recover from childbirth or a miscarriage, among others.
· Guidance regarding limitations and medical conditions for which employees or applicants may seek reasonable accommodation, including miscarriage or still birth; migraines; lactation; and pregnancy-related conditions that are episodic, such as morning sickness. This guidance is based on Congress’s PWFA statutory language, the EEOC’s longstanding definition of “pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions” from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and court decisions interpreting the term “pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions from Title VII.
· Guidance encouraging early and frequent communication between employers and workers to raise and resolve requests for reasonable accommodation in a timely manner.
· Clarification that an employer is not required to seek supporting documentation when an employee asks for a reasonable accommodation and should only do so when it is reasonable under the circumstances.
· Explanation of when an accommodation would impose an undue hardship on an employer and its business.
· Information on how employers may assert defenses or exemptions, including those based on religion, as early as possible in charge processing.

If you were denied a reasonable accommodation due to your pregnancy, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE consultation to discuss your concerns.


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