Posted on September 26, 2023 in Illinois employment lawyer
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), a landmark piece of employment legislation, went into effect on June 27, 2023. This new law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees who have physical limitations that are related to pregnancy, childbirth, or other related medical conditions. It is critical that all employers understand the requirements of this law, as well as the ramifications of failing to follow it. The following is a brief overview. For more detailed information, contact an Illinois employment law attorney.
According to national statistics, more than 80 percent of working women will have at least one child during their employment “lifetime.” But up until June 27th of this year, protections for pregnant workers were essentially non-existent. The only modifications employers were required to provide pregnant workers under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) of 1978 were ones the employer made for other employees who were “similar in their ability or inability to work.” This language basically left pregnant workers in many types of careers with no protections, forcing women to choose between their health and their paycheck.
The PWFA changes all of that. The law broadly defines pregnancy-related conditions to include not only the physical aspects of pregnancy but also complications, childbirth recovery, and conditions such as lactation. This expansive definition ensures that a wide range of pregnancy-related circumstances are covered. Under the PWFA, employers are now required to provide the following:
Reasonable accommodations – Unless an employer can show that to do so would result in undue hardship, they are now required to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers, including modified work schedules, adjustments to job duties, or access to a clean and private space for expressing breast milk.
No discrimination – No employer is allowed to discriminate against an employee based on their pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. This also includes the employer is not allowed to take any adverse actions against the employee.
Required notice – All employers must inform their employees of their rights under the PWFA, including the employees’ right to reasonable accommodations and prohibition of discrimination based on pregnancy.
Legal recourse – If an employer fails to abide by the PWFA, the employee has the right to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and/or seek legal action through the civil court system.
Contact an Illinois Employment Law Attorney
If one of your employees is accusing your company of violating federal or state employment laws, contact a seasoned Schaumburg, IL employment lawyer right away to ensure your company is protected. Cal The Miller Law Firm, P.C. at 847-995-1205 for a free consultation.