The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) becomes effective on June 27, 2023, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued guidance – and a countdown – on its implementation. The PWFA is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against pregnant workers and applicants, and it requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees and job applicants with known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Here’s what employers need to know as we approach the deadline:
The PWFA applies to employers with 15 or more employees and protects employees and applicants who have limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Employers must provide reasonable accommodations, unless it would cause an undue hardship. Examples of accommodations include more frequent breaks, temporary transfer to less strenuous or hazardous work, leave to recover from childbirth, and modification of equipment or seating.
To comply with the law, employers must engage in an interactive process with the employee or applicant to determine an appropriate accommodation. Employers cannot require employees to take leave if another accommodation can be provided that would allow them to continue working.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing the PWFA and employees and applicants can bring civil actions for violations of the law. Remedies include back pay, reinstatement, and reasonable attorney’s fees.
In summary, the PWFA provides important protections for pregnant workers and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations. Employers should take steps to comply with the law, engage in an interactive process to determine appropriate accommodations, and avoid any discriminatory practices.
If you have questions about the impact of the PWFA on your workforce, please contact me or your regular Parker Poe contact.