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What You Should Know About the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) is a new law that requires covered employers to provide “reasonable accommodations” to an employee’s known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless the accommodation will cause the employer an “undue hardship.”

It should be noted that the PWFA applies to accommodations. Existing EEOC laws make it illegal to fire or otherwise discriminate against an employee on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.

The PWFA does not replace federal, state, or local laws that are more protective of employees that may be affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. On June 27, 2023, the PWFA went into effect. The EEOC issued a newly proposed version of the PWFA regulations, and the public would be able to provide their input and offer comments before the regulations become final. The EEOC started accepting new charges under the PWFA on June 27, 2023. For the PWFA to apply, the matter complained about to the EEOC must have happened on June 27, 2023, or later. A pregnant worker who needed an accommodation before June 27, 2023, may, however, have a right to receive an accommodation under another state or federal.

In some situations, workers affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition may be able to get an accommodation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Therefore, until June 27, 2023, the EEOC will continue to accept and process Title VII and/or ADA charges involving a lack of accommodation regarding pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.

After June 27, 2023, the EEOC will analyze charges regarding accommodations for workers affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions under the new PWFA (if the violation occurred after June 27, 2023) and, where applicable, under the ADA and/or Title VII.

The PWFA prohibits certain action by employers, such as:

  • Requiring an employee to accept an accommodation without a discussion regarding the accommodation between the employee and the employer;
  • Denying a job or other employment opportunity to a qualified employee or applicant based on the person’s need for a reasonable accommodation;
  • Requiring an employee to take leave if another reasonable accommodation can be provided that would allow the employee to keep working;
  • Retaliation against an employee for reporting or opposing unlawful discrimination under the PWFA or participating in a PWFA proceeding (such as an investigation); or
  • Interfere with any individual’s rights under the PWFA.

The PWFA is very complex. Employers should conduct an internal review with an employment law attorney to ensure compliance.

About Us
Oberman Law Firm represents clients in a wide range of practice areas, including private equity, M&A, healthcare, corporate transactions, intellectual property, data privacy and security, regulatory compliance and governance, cross-border transactions, labor and employment, construction law, litigation, private clients’ services, corporate restructuring, and white-collar and governmental disputes.

As a firm, we offer the highest quality legal advice coupled with extraordinary and tailored service to deliver exceptional results to our clients. Our philosophy is to invest deeply in the brightest legal talent and build dynamic teams that operate at the pinnacle of respective practice areas. We believe in empowering our attorneys, encouraging entrepreneurialism, operating ethically and with integrity, and collaborating to bring the very best to every client engagement. These principles have guided us in building extraordinary and successful long-term partnerships with our clients.

Stuart J. Oberman is the founder and President of Oberman Law Firm. Mr. Oberman graduated from Urbana University and received his law degree from John Marshall Law School. Mr. Oberman has been practicing law for over 30 years, and before going into private practice, Mr. Oberman was in-house counsel for a Fortune 500 Company. <strong><a href="https://obermanlaw.com/people/stuart-j-oberman/"><span style="color: #0059b8;">Read More =></span></a></strong>