Effective June 27, 2023, the EEOC will accept charges under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (“PWFA”). The PWFA offers protections for employees experiencing pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. In particular, the PWFA mandates that employers with fifteen (15) or more employees grant eligible employees “reasonable accommodations” unless doing so would impose an “undue hardship.” The House Committee on Education and Labor Report on the PWFA provides several examples of possible reasonable accommodations, including additional breaktime to use the bathroom; seating; closer parking; and appropriately sized uniforms and safety apparel.
Importantly, the PWFA does not replace federal, state, or local laws that are more protective of workers affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Massachusetts had already passed the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which amended G.L. 151B, § 4 to prohibit discrimination in employment on the basis of pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions. Like the national PWFA, the Massachusetts law prohibits an employer from denying a reasonable accommodation for an employee’s pregnancy or condition related to pregnancy, unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship.
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This update is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice.