Pregnant Workers Fairness Act: What Employers Should Know about Finalized Rules

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) went into effect on June 27, 2023. Applicable to all employers with at least 15 employees, it requires employers to offer reasonable accommodations to workers’ known limitations related to a pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.  The only exception to this requirement lies where an employer can demonstrate that such an accommodation will cause undue hardship which means a significant difficulty or expense.

Reasonable accommodations are typically changes to the workplace or procedures that remove barriers to continued employment.  Examples include schedule changes and time off to attend medical appointments, extra bathroom breaks, and telework opportunities.

The PWFA also carries several prohibitions which include:

  • Denying a job or employment opportunity based on the need for a reasonable accommodation,
  • Requiring an employee to take leave rather than offering a reasonable accommodation that is available, and
  • Punishing an individual for requesting a reasonable accommodation pursuant to the law.

Rules related to the PWFA were finalized earlier this month.  Effective June 18, 2024, the rules provide additional detail and guidance on topics such as the procedure by which an employee may request a reasonable accommodation, the procedures for filing a charge or claim under the PWFA, and available remedies to those who suffer a violation of the PWFA.  The final rule also provides more information about interactions among the PWFA and other federal laws such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

If you have questions regarding how the PWFA might affect your business or would like help developing a PWFA policy, contact us.   Meanwhile, employers can learn more about the PWFA and its implementing regulations, at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s website.

(This blog, prepared by Campanella Law Office, is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to convey specific legal advice, nor is it intended to create or constitute an attorney-client relationship.)

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