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08/07/2017

Uptick in Pregnancy Workplace Protections (article)


There appears to be a growing number of states modifying their employment discrimination laws to provide additional protections to pregnant workers.  Most recently, Connecticut and Massachusetts enacted laws similar to the Nevada law mentioned in last month’s Benefit Beat (see Nevada Expands Protections for Pregnant Workers, 7/13/2017).  These state laws must be coordinated with other state discrimination laws, as well as the federal laws such as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Break Time for Nursing Mothers Act.

 

  • Connecticut – Pregnant Women in the Workplace

On July 6, 2017, Governor Malloy signed a law (HB 6668, P. L. 17-118) concerning pregnant women in the workplace, which takes effect October 1, 2017.  This law amends Connecticut’s existing pregnancy discrimination statute by expanding the employment protections provided to pregnant women and requiring employers to provide a reasonable workplace accommodation.

 

Employers employing three or more individuals are prohibited from limiting, segregating or classifying an employee in a way that would deprive her of employment opportunities due to her pregnancy, or to refuse to make a reasonable accommodation for an employee or job applicant due to pregnancy, unless the employer can demonstrate that such accommodation would impose an undue hardship on such employer.  Examples of reasonable accommodations include the ability to remain seated while working, more frequent or longer breaks, periodic rests, 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.

 

A reasonable accommodation cannot be imposed upon an employee nor can an employee be compelled to accept a reasonable accommodation if it not necessary or required. Further, employment opportunities cannot be denied if they are based on the employer’s refusal to accommodate the affected individual.

 

Notice obligation.  An employer is obligated to provide written notice of these rights to all existing employees by November 3, 2017, and within 10 days of learning that an existing employee is pregnant, as well as to new employees at the point of hire.

 

 

  • Massachusetts – Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

On July 27, 2017, Governor Charlie Baker signed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (H. 3680, Chapter 54), which takes effect April 1, 2018.  This law expands upon the existing Massachusetts pregnancy discrimination law to ensure that pregnant workers or workers with pregnancy-related conditions receive reasonable accommodations and protection from discrimination and retaliation.

 

The law requires employers employing six or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations during an employee’s pregnancy or related condition, unless such accommodation imposes an undue hardship upon the employer’s business.  Examples of reasonable accommodations include allowing more frequent or longer paid or unpaid breaks, time off to recover from childbirth with or without pay, purchasing or modifying equipment or seating, providing a private non-bathroom space for expressing breast milk, assistance with manual labor, or modifying an individual’s work schedule such as a temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position, job restructuring or light duty.

 

A reasonable accommodation cannot be imposed upon an employee nor can an employee be compelled to accept a reasonable accommodation if it not necessary or required.  Further, employment opportunities cannot be denied if they are based on the employer’s refusal to accommodate the affected individual.

 

Notice obligation.  An employer is obligated to provide written notice of these rights to all existing employees by January 1, 2018, and within 10 days of learning that an existing employee is pregnant, as well as to new employees at the point of hire.



The information contained in this article is provided as general guidance and may be affected by changes in law or regulation. This article is not intended to replace or substitute for accounting or other professional advice. Please consult a CBIZ professional. This information is provided as-is with no warranties of any kind. CBIZ shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever in connection with its use and assumes no obligation to inform the reader of any changes in laws or other factors that could affect the information contained herein.  

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