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What Are Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnant Employees?

April 3rd, 2024
Contact Our Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. for Help Today

Recently, Congress passed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to a worker’s known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. The only reason an employer would not have to provide reasonable accommodation is when it would present an undue hardship for the employer. If the employer violates their legal obligation, the pregnant worker can sue for financial compensation. They must show their claim to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) before they can file a lawsuit.

In light of the new law and the recent rules published by the EEOC surrounding its implementation, there has been much focus on what is considered to be a reasonable accommodation for a pregnant employee. In many cases, the type of accommodation being offered by the employer would depend on whether it would be considered reasonable under the circumstances.

Examples of Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnant Employees

A reasonable accommodation would be something that would allow you to continue to perform your work duties in light of your condition. Some examples of a reasonable accommodation for a pregnant employee would include:

  • Changing the physical nature of your job to involve light duty as opposed to rigorous work.
  • Allowing you to take more frequent breaks so you can rest.
  • Permitting you to make adjustments to your schedule to attend your doctor’s appointments.
  • Allowing you to sit while you are performing your work, even when your job duties ordinarily involve standing.
  • Giving you the ability to take leave as necessary, depending on your condition.
  • Permitting you to work remotely more often than you had in the past.

Your employer is not necessarily obligated to grant whatever request you make while you are pregnant. The accommodation that you want may not be what your employer offers. Just because your employer is not meeting your request does not mean that their accommodations are unreasonable. Nonetheless, your employer would be expected to make some adjustments as long as the accommodation does not present them with undue hardship.

The new law is intended to clarify employers’ obligations. In the past, pregnancy-related conditions were addressed under existing laws. In light of egregious examples of discrimination and employers’ lack of willingness to accommodate their employees, Congress chose to pass a new law.

Undue Hardship

Your employer may still have a legitimate reason for saying no to you. Undue hardship is defined as something that would cause a significant difficulty or expense for your employer. If your employer has been sued, they would certainly try to justify their actions by arguing that your accommodation would have caused an undue hardship. Everything depends on the facts and circumstances of the situation and the nature of the work that you do for your employer.

You need to document any requests that you make to your employer. Even if you had a verbal conversation with your employer, it is essential that you follow up in writing so you have a record of what you have requested and their response. If you believe that you are a victim of pregnancy-related discrimination, you may be able to file a lawsuit against your employer. Like other discrimination statutes, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act allows you to sue for compensation directly. First, you need to present your claim to the EEOC, and they will decide whether to file a lawsuit on your behalf. If they do not, they will send you a letter telling you that you can take your case to federal court. Your first step is to hire an experienced employment law attorney who can evaluate your situation and provide you with crucial legal advice.

Contact Our Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. for Help Today

If you suspect that your employer has broken the law, reach out to our Philadelphia employment lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. We are not afraid to take on large companies. Call 215-569-1999 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, and we serve clients in South Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania, including Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Northeast Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Lehigh County, Montgomery County, and Cherry Hill.

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