There has been headlines in the news recently regarding pregnant employees and issues they have at work with being able to receive accommodations while with child. Stories of pregnant workers being told they couldn’t go to the bathroom more than twice a day while at work have become as frequent as tabloid fodder. Because of this, states have begun enacting laws that prevent employers from discriminating pregnant employees, and allowing them to have rights within the workplace.
In New York recently, a law was passed that “prohibits most New York City employers from denying bathroom breaks and other accommodations to pregnant employees”. New York has been added to a list of states including California, Connecticut, Maryland, and Texas that mandate pregnancy accommodations.
This law is called the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA).
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) is different from the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) because it doesn’t force an employer accommodate a pregnant employee. However, an employee must adhere, within reason, to a pregnant worker’s request to say, not lift anything over a certain amount of weight, keep water nearby where it may otherwise be prohibited, etc. The PDA is in affect with employers that have four or more employees.
The PDA also allows for accommodations for women recovering from pregnancy, childbirth, or related surgery. If a request is denied by an employer, they must put it in writing with a written notice and place it in a “conspicuous” location within the office.
As roles grow and change amongst gender in the workplace, we are seeing more and more laws enacted to help protect those in need. And while I am glad to see states working on their own to help those who are pregnant and working, more needs to be done to make sure that the workplace is helpful to those who do have physical limitations, even if the physical limitations are temporary.
Know your rights.
*Source, HR Magazine