Employer Alert: EEOC Proposes Regulations to Implement Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
August 16, 2023 by Russ Brown
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) has quietly been in place less than two months. Employers should take notice, as the EEOC is now accepting charges of discrimination under the new law (the alleged discriminatory act must have happened on or after June 27, 2023). On Friday the EEOC published proposed regulations to implement the PWFA. The EEOC explains in its proposal that the PWFA fills the gaps under prior federal protections for pregnant workers. Comments to the proposed regulations may be made on or before October 10, 2023.
Under the PWFA, covered employers must provide reasonable accommodations for a worker’s known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Employers will have the opportunity to show that the potential accommodation will cause the employer undue hardship. The EEOC has provided examples of “reasonable accommodations” under the PWFA, including additional or longer breaks, a changed work schedule, altered food or drink policies, or leave for doctor appointments.
The PWFA joins a range of other federal protections for pregnant workers, including Title VII, the ADA, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), and the PUMP Act. The EEOC will continue to process charges for pregnancy discrimination under Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and now the PWFA.
Employers should review and understand existing laws and adapt to the additional obligations introduced by the PWFA. As necessary, employers then should consider changes to company policies that may impact workers experiencing issues stemming from pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.