Although pregnancy is a natural part of life, it can cause related conditions that may temporarily disable a pregnant woman. For example, many pregnancies put women at risk of blood pressure, anemia and other problems.
Some employers do not believe these issues warrant the altering of an employee’s working conditions. However, pregnant women have rights under the law, including the right to reasonable accommodations in the workplace.
What can you ask for?
Since pregnancy is natural, many women never think about requesting workplace accommodations. They end up working as long as possible under difficult, possibly dangerous conditions, usually unnecessarily. Why? Because employers must grant accommodation requests unless it would pose undue hardships for the business.
7 commonly requested pregnancy accommodations:
- #1. Work reduction or temporary light duty
- #2. Additional rest and bathroom breaks
- #3. Assistance performing manual labor
- #4. Time off for medical appointments
- #5. Altered seating arrangements
- #6. Remote work opportunities
- #7. Time off for bed rest
As you can see, most of these accommodations are relatively easy to implement and unlikely to cause employers significant hardships. If they refuse your accommodation request, it may qualify as discrimination.
Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA)
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) will go into effect on June 27, 2023. It will provide additional support for all women in the U.S. who need pregnancy accommodations.
For example, the PWFA expressly prohibits employers from denying reasonable accommodations when granting them would not cause hardships. This federal Act complements the pregnancy protections California already provides for families.
Despite national and state anti-discrimination laws, employers continue to violate worker rights. The more harmed employees that stand against unlawful employment practices, the harder it may become for employers to ignore the law. Legal guidance can help you protect your rights and have a safe and happy pregnancy.