Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Set to Take Effect in June 2023
On June 27, 2023, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act ("PWFA") will take effect. It will apply to employers with15 or more employees. The PWFA goes beyond the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and requires employers to accommodate pregnancy-related temporary disabilities in the same way that they must accommodate disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act. It also prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, or a need for an accommodation due to pregnancy. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the agency responsible for enforcing the Act.
Prior to the PWFA being signed into law by President Biden, there was significant testimony presented to Congress that many pregnant employees were unable to obtain necessary accommodations and continued to experience discrimination at work, despite the passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act decades ago. The PWFA seeks to remedy these problems. Under the PWFA, employees who seek accommodations while pregnant must be granted all reasonable accommodations so long as it is not an undue burden to their employer. This is a welcome protection for pregnant people who want or need to continue working, but who may have doctor's restrictions on lifting, need to have a stool to sit on, or other basic physical accommodations.