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Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

-- Jill C. McQueen

On April 15, 2024, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its final rule implementing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. This federal law requires public and private employers with at least 15 employees to provide reasonable accommodations for workers with known limitations associated with pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.

A reasonable accommodation is a job modification or other changes to the workplace or work schedule. Some examples include:

• providing additional or more flexible breaks during the workday

• allowing the employee to sit while performing duties

• temporary suspension of certain job duties or temporary reassignment

• work-from-home arrangements

• light duty, or assistance with the more physical aspects of the employee’s job

• time off work to attend medical appointments and to recover from childbirth

This concept will be familiar to employers already making reasonable accommodations for employees or applicants pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act; once the employer becomes aware of a limitation related to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition, it must engage in an “interactive process” with the individual to understand and consider her limitations and the type of adjustment that is needed.

While leave is one possible form of accommodation, the Act prohibits employers from requiring an employee to take leave if another reasonable accommodation would allow the individual to keep working. Employers must not deny an employment opportunity to a qualified employee or job candidate simply because she requires an accommodation, and it is unlawful to punish or retaliate against someone for requesting or using a reasonable accommodation under the PWFA.

As is the case with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the PWFA does not oblige employers to make an accommodation that would pose an undue hardship to the business, that is, one that represents a significant difficulty or expense.

For additional information, contact Jill McQueen at (330) 563-4174 or email

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