All business owners who employ workers must understand federal and state employment laws and how to implement them into their businesses, including new laws such as the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. Business owners must be aware of the changes in laws and policies and adapt their business practices accordingly to meet new legal requirements. Taking a proactive approach to employment law-related matters can help you avoid employment law-related problems before they arise. However, if you encounter an employment law dispute, you can rely on a Florida business transaction lawyer at Kramer Green to represent your interests and reach an efficient and effective resolution.
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act: The Basics
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) is a new federal law that takes effect on June 27, 2023. This law requires covered employers to provide “reasonable accommodations” to a worker’s known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. The employer must accommodate these limitations unless doing so would cause the employer an “undue hardship” or a significant difficulty or expense.
The PWFA does not replace or limit existing state or local laws that offer more protections to pregnant workers. More than 30 states and local jurisdictions already provide varying degrees of accommodations for pregnant workers under their laws.
Employers should familiarize themselves with the basics of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and prepare to implement the law, if necessary, in their workplaces. Here are three things that employers should know about the PWFA.
The PWFA applies only to “covered employers.”
Covered employers include public and private sector employers with at least 15 employees. Covered employers also include federal agencies, employment agencies, and labor organizations.
The PWFA prohibits covered employers from taking various actions against pregnant employees.
Under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, covered employers may not:
- Require an employee to accept an accommodation without first discussing it with the employee;
- Deny a job or other employment opportunity to a qualified employee because the employee needs a reasonable accommodation;
- Require an employee to take leave when it can provide a reasonable accommodation to allow the employee to keep working;
- Retaliate against an individual for reporting or opposing unlawful discrimination under the PWFA or participating in a proceeding under the PWFA, such as an investigation; or
- Interfere with any individual’s rights under the PWFA.
Various reasonable accommodations may be required of covered employers under the PWFA.
Reasonable accommodations include any changes to the work environment or how things are usually done in the workplace. Some examples of potential reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers include providing the following:
- The ability to sit down or drink water;
- Closer parking;
- Appropriately sized uniforms and safety equipment;
- A reduced or flexible work schedule;
- Longer breaks to rest, use the bathroom, or eat;
- Time off to recover from childbirth; and
- Relief from strenuous activities or exposure to substances that could be harmful to pregnancy.
Allow Us to Help You Protect Your Business Today
A business transaction attorney at Kramer, Green, Zuckerman, Greene & Buchsbaum, P.A. is ready to help you protect your business by ensuring that you meet the requirements of all relevant laws, including the PWFA. We understand how diligently you have worked to build your business, and our goal is to assist you in preserving what you have built by ensuring that your business does not run afoul of the law. Contact our office today at (954) 966-2112 or reach out to us online to schedule a time to discuss your legal issues with our attorneys.