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EEOC Issues Final Regulations on Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

Published on

April 22, 2024

On Friday, April 19, 2024, the Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published a final rule and interpretative guidance in order to implement the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA). The PWFA is a relatively new federal law which went into effect in June 2023 that requires covered employers to provide reasonable accommodations to a qualified worker’s known limitations related to, affected by, or arising out of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless the accommodation will cause the employer an undue hardship. The final rule, which will become effective 60 days after its publication, offers guidance and examples from the EEOC of how employers might accommodate employees and what types of conditions are covered under the PWFA.

Some notable guidance includes:

  • Examples of accommodations that the EEOC considers reasonable such as additional breaks to drink water, eat, or use the restroom; a stool to sit on; time off for medical appointments; temporary suspension of certain job duties or reassignment; light duty or help with lifting; adjusting work times; telework; or time off to recover from childbirth or a miscarriage.
  • Pregnancy related conditions can include miscarriage, lactation, morning sickness, migraines, or an elective termination of pregnancy among other conditions.
  • The EEOC encourages early and frequent communication between employees and employers in order to resolve accommodation requests in a timely manner.
  • An employer is not required to seek supporting documentation when an employee requests a reasonable accommodation and should only request documentation when it is reasonable under the circumstances. For example, it is not reasonable to ask for documentation if the limitations that necessitate the accommodation request are obvious and the employee provides self-confirmation of their condition or if the employer already has sufficient information to determine that the employee has a physical or mental condition related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions covered by the PWFA.

If you have any questions regarding the new guidance and how it may impact your business or organization, please contact Susanna Fultz or any member of the Barley Snyder Employment Practice Group.

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