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The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) is a new law as of June 27, 2023 that requires companies with more than 15 employees to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers. Reasonable accommodations are defined as changes to the work environment, or the way things are usually done at work, and may include more bathroom breaks, a stool to rest on, light duty work, or equipment modification.

What this means for workers:

If your pregnancy, childbirth or related medical condition makes it harder for you to perform your job, you can ask for a change called a reasonable accommodation, without fear of retaliation from your employer.

It’s also important to remember that people are still learning about this new law, and if your employer does not all the details, there are plenty of resources available for you to share.

It may also help to discuss this law with your co-workers and help spread the word by talking about it and sharing websites and printed materials to help promote awareness in the workplace.

What this means for employers:

Make sure you and your staff are trained on this new law and are able to provide the reasonable accommodations to those who need them.

The law requires an employer to post a notice describing the Federal laws prohibiting job discrimination based on race, color, sex (including pregnancy and related conditions, sexual orientation, or gender identity), national origin, religion, age (40 and older), equal pay, disability or genetic information (including family medical history or genetic tests or services), and retaliation for filing a charge, reasonably opposing discrimination, or participating in a discrimination lawsuit, investigation, or proceeding.

The “Know Your Rights: Workplace Discrimination is Illegal” poster, prepared by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), summarizes these laws and explains how employees or applicants can file a complaint if they believe that they have experienced discrimination.

What other federal laws may apply to pregnant workers?

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