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Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Is in Effect, and Also Requires Reasonable Accommodation

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The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) went into effect on June 27, 2023.  The expanded rights for pregnant individuals will be similar to those qualified individuals with disabilities under the ADA.  Under the PWFA, such individuals only have to show that they require reasonable accommodation due to a physical or mental condition related to pregnancy/childbirth or a related condition.  The PWFA also does not allow an employer to require a qualified individual to accept accommodation other than one arrived at through the interactive process, nor require a qualified individual to take leave if another reasonable accommodation can meet the individual's needs.

Editor's Note: This is another area in which an employer's handbook and/or equal employment policies would likely need modification.  Employers may also consider having separate forms or places on forms in which employees request accommodations for ADA, religion, or for pregnancy-related issues.  In any event, employers must be aware that the concept of "undue hardship" varies somewhat between accommodations for religious, pregnancy or ADA purposes.

This article is part of our August 2023 Newsletter.

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