When does the PWFA go into effect, and will the public have input on any regulations?
It became effective on June 27, 2023. To ensure smooth implementation, the EEOC is required to issue regulations for the law. They will release a proposed version of the regulations, giving the public a chance to provide input and offer comments before they become final.
Is the EEOC accepting charges under the PWFA?
Now, if you’re wondering whether the EEOC is already accepting charges under the PWFA, the answer is yes! Starting from June 27, 2023, they started accepting charges related to the PWFA. However, it’s important to note that for the PWFA to apply, the situation complained about must have occurred on or after June 27, 2023. If a pregnant worker needs an accommodation before that date, they may still have rights under other federal or state laws.
Up until June 27, 2023, the EEOC will continue to accept and process charges related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). But after that date, they will analyze charges concerning accommodations for pregnant workers under the PWFA (if the violation occurred after June 27, 2023), as well as under the ADA and/or Title VII, if applicable.
So, what exactly are these “reasonable accommodations” we keep talking about? They are changes made to the work environment or adjustments in how things are usually done at work. For example, allowing a pregnant worker to sit or have access to drinking water, providing closer parking, offering flexible hours, providing appropriately sized uniforms and safety apparel, allowing additional break time for bathroom, eating, and resting, granting leave for childbirth recovery, and excusing the worker from strenuous activities or exposure to unsafe compounds during pregnancy. Employers are required to provide these accommodations unless they would cause significant difficulty or expense, also known as “undue hardship.”
The PWFA also prohibits covered employers from certain actions.
They cannot require an employee to accept an accommodation without discussing it with the worker, deny job opportunities based on the need for an accommodation, force an employee to take leave when other reasonable accommodations are available, retaliate against someone for reporting or opposing discrimination under the PWFA, or interfere with anyone’s rights under the PWFA.
In addition to the PWFA, there are other federal laws that come into play when it comes to pregnant workers.
Other laws that apply to workers affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, include:
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