Summary: The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant women and those who suffer medical conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth.
- Model bill coauthored by: A Better Balance: the work and family legal center, Legal Aid Society—Employment Law Center, and ACLU Women’s Rights Project available athttp://www.abetterbalance.org/web/images/stories/Model_State_PWFA_Bill.pdf
- The New York City Pregnant Workers Fairness Act available athttp://www.abetterbalance.org/web/images/stories/Intro_974a-2012_passed.pdf
- The Delaware Pregnant Workers Fairness Act available athttp://www.legis.delaware.gov/LIS/LIS147.NSF/vwLegislation/SB+212?Opendocument
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE
This Act shall be called the “Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.”
SECTION 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE
(A) FINDINGS—The [legislature/council/commission] finds that:
1. Women in the workplace who request an accommodation to allow them to maintain a healthy pregnancy are being removed from their positions, placed on unpaid leave, or fired.
2. Similarly, women who request an accommodation while recovering from childbirth are being removed from their positions, placed on unpaid leave, or fired.
3. If reasonable accommodations are requested and denied, it is a form of sex discrimination.
(B) PURPOSE—This law is enacted to combat sex discrimination, promote public health, and ensure full and equal participation for women in the labor force by requiring employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth.
SECTION 3. FAIRNESS FOR WORKERS WHO ARE PREGNANT OR HAVE GIVEN BIRTH
After section XXX, the following new section XXX shall be inserted:
(A) DEFINITIONS—In this section:
1. "Pregnancy” means pregnancy, childbirth, or a related condition, including, but not limited to, lactation.
2. “Reasonable accommodation” means such accommodation that can be made for an employee that shall not cause undue hardship in the conduct of the employer’s business. Accommodations may include, but are not limited to, acquisition of equipment for sitting, more frequent or longer breaks, periodic rest, assistance with manual labor, job restructuring, light duty assignments, modified work schedules, temporary transfers to less strenuous or hazardous work, time off to recover from childbirth, or break time and appropriate facilities for expressing breast milk.
3. “Undue hardship” means an action requiring significant difficulty or expense when considered in light of factors such as: the nature and cost of the accommodation; the overall financial resources of the employer; the overall size of the business of the employer with respect to the number of employees, and the number, type and location of its facilities; and the effect on expenses and resources or the impact otherwise of such accommodation upon the operation of the employer. The fact that the employer provides or would be required to provide a similar accommodation to another employee or employee(s) shall create a rebuttable presumption that the accommodation does not impose an undue hardship on the employer.
(B) SEX DISCRIMINATION—It is unlawful sex discrimination for an employer to:
1. Fail or refuse to treat an employee or applicant for employment that the employer knows or should know is affected by pregnancy as well as the employer treats or would treat any other employee or applicant not so affected but similar in the ability or inability to work, without regard to the source of any condition affecting the other employee’s or applicant’s ability or inability to work;
2. Fail or refuse to make reasonable accommodations to the known limitations related to the pregnancy of an applicant for employment or employee, unless the employer can demonstrate that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the business of such employer;
3. Deny employment opportunities to a job applicant or employee, if such denial is based on the need of the employer to make reasonable accommodations to the known limitations related to the pregnancy of an employee or applicant for employment;
4. Require an applicant for employment or employee affected by pregnancy to accept an accommodation that such applicant or employee chooses not to accept, if such applicant or employee does not have a known limitation related to pregnancy or if such accommodation is unnecessary for the applicant or employee to perform the essential duties of her job;
5. Require an employee to take leave under any leave law or policy of the employer if another reasonable accommodation can be provided to the known limitations related to the pregnancy of the employee; or
6. Take adverse action against an employee in the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment for requesting or using a reasonable accommodation to the known limitations related to the pregnancy of the employee.
(C) NOTICE OF RIGHTS
1. An employer shall provide written notice in a form and manner to be determined by the [Equal Rights Commission] of the right to be free from discrimination in relation to pregnancy, including the right to reasonable accommodations:
a. To all employees within 120 days of the effective date of this provision;
b. To new employees at the commencement of employment;
c. To any employee who notifies the employer of her pregnancy, within 10 days of such notification; and
d. By conspicuously posting at an employer's place of business in an area accessible to employees.
2. The [Equal Rights Commission] shall develop courses of instruction and conduct ongoing public education efforts as necessary to inform employers, employees, employment agencies, and job applicants about their rights and responsibilities under this provision.
(D) NO DIMINUTION OF RIGHTS
This provision shall not be construed to preempt, limit, diminish or otherwise affect any other provision of law relating to sex discrimination or pregnancy, or in any way to diminish the coverage for pregnancy under any other provision of law.
SECTION 4. EFFECTIVE DATE
This Act shall take effect on XXXX 1, 2016.