Sometimes a pregnant woman or someone who has just given birth needs some help to get her job done. This can be a difficult conversation. You may feel nervous asking for help. In comes the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act which goes into effect on June 27, 2023.
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act gives workers a right to appropriate and reasonable accommodations when facing pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions (like nursing or mastitis). Workers have the right to ask for accommodations like light duty, temporarily changing departments, extra breaks, or changes in food policy to be able to carry snacks and water on the job, to name a few examples.
You might be asking yourself, wasn’t this already covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act? It was covered under that only for pregnancy-related disabilities. This new act covers all of a worker’s needs, not just disabilities.
How can you take advantage of this act?
Don’t assume they are aware of the new bill or that they won’t be supportive. Simply explain to your boss or a human resources manager how it relates to your needs and share the law from the link below. For example, “Have you heard of this new law for mothers like me to succeed in the workplace with some help? I would really appreciate a stool rather than standing all day. Here is some information in case you haven’t heard of it yet.”
If you have difficulties with your supervisor, keep all documentation including emails and notes from meetings. If necessary, go to her/his boss if you are not given reasonable accommodation. Try your best to work it out. If you do not receive the assistance required by law, contact an attorney.
This law applies to employers with 15 or more employees. There are other state and city laws to protect workers.
In the unlikely event that they do not work with you to make reasonable accommodations, you may file a charge with the EEOC.
To learn more:
*This article is not intended to provide legal advice. Legal decisions should be discussed with a qualified professional.