Pregnancy Accommodation Act

Sorry, another interruption of our posts about the the paid family leave statute. This time to discuss the new Pregnancy Accommodation Act. Beginning January 1, 2020, employers with six or more employees must provide reasonable accommodations to employees and applicants with known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition, including but not limited to lactation (collectively “Pregnancy Limitations”).

Types of Accommodation.  The law provides that reasonable accommodations may include:

  • Acquisition or modification of equipment or devices;
  • More frequent or longer break periods or periodic rest;
  • Assistance with  manual  labor;  or
  • Modification of work schedules or job assignments.

Unlawful Employment Practices.  It is now an unlawful employment practice for an employer, because of an employee’s Pregnancy Limitation to:

  • Deny employment opportunities to an applicant or employee if the denial is based on the need of the employer to make reasonable accommodation;
  • Fail or refuse to make reasonable accommodation to  a known Pregnancy Limitation, unless the employer can demonstrate that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the business of the employer.
  • Take an adverse employment action or in any manner discriminate or retaliate against an applicant or an employee, with respect to hire or tenure, or  any  other  term  or condition of employment, because the applicant or employee has inquired about, requested or used a reasonable accommodation under this section.
  • Require an applicant or an employee to accept a reasonable accommodation that is unnecessary for the applicant or the employee to perform the essential duties of the job or to accept a reasonable accommodation if the applicant or employee does not have a known limitation.
  • Require an employee to take family leave under OFLA, or any other leave, if the employer can make reasonable accommodation to the known limitations.

Notice.  Employers must post notice informing employees of their rights under the new law in a conspicuous and accessible location in or about the premises where employees work. Employers are also required to provide a written copy of the notice to:

  • A new  employee,  at  the  time  of  hire;
  • Existing employees, within 180 days after the effective date of this 2019 Act; and
  • An employee who informs the employer of the employee’s pregnancy, within 10 days after the employer  receives  notice from the employee.

Undue Hardship.  A reasonable accommodation imposes an undue hardship on the operation of the business of an employer if the reasonable accommodation requires significant difficulty or expense. Whether a reasonable accommodation requires significant difficulty or expense is determined using the same factors used when analyzing undue hardship for disability accommodations:

  • The nature and the cost of the accommodation needed.
  • The overall financial resources of the facility or facilities involved in the provision of the accommodation, the number of persons employed at the facility and the effect on expenses and resources or other impacts on the operation of the facility caused by the accommodation.
  • The overall financial resources of the employer, the overall size of the business of the employer with respect to the number of its employees and the number, type and location of the employer’s facilities.
  • The type of operations conducted by the employer, including the composition, structure and functions of the workforce of the employer and the geographic separateness and administrative or fiscal relationship of the facility or facilities in question to the employer.

Training & Education.  The law requires BOLI to develop training and education materials to use to train and educate employers and employees regarding the obligations, rights and protections under the new law. Presumably, BOLI will also issue a poster for employers to use to comply with their notice obligations.

The new law is here: Pregnancy Accommodation Act (03219858x7AC43)

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