Employers must provide a supportive and safe work environment for pregnant employees. This often means making accommodations as you would with any other medical condition.
Every employer should understand how to care for pregnant employees.
Understand the law
Federal law requires employers to prevent discrimination against pregnant employees. The Americans with Disabilities Act provides some protections. The recently passed Pregnant Workers Fairness Act establishes further requirements. In addition, many states have their own laws in place for pregnancy protection.
Explore accommodation options
Many employers struggle to understand reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees. Employees might need modified work duties to minimize physical labor. Some employees need a change in work environment for safety reasons. A flexible schedule makes it easier to schedule doctor’s visits and take needed breaks to eat or rest. Accommodate what you can without creating undue hardship for your business.
Every situation and pregnancy is different. Complications and health concerns can increase an employee’s accommodation needs. Make sure all pregnant employees understand how to communicate any accommodation needs. Provide information about their rights and the company’s FMLA leave.
Evaluate workplace policies
Establish an education program for the prevention of pregnancy-related harassment. Employee education and strong company policies protect your pregnant employees. Pregnant employees also need a system to report discrimination or harassment. Offer a means for workplace complaints without any fear of retaliation.
The EEOC received 2,273 pregnancy discrimination complaints in 2022. Violations can leave your business facing lawsuits and costly penalties. Protect your pregnant employees to reduce the risk of legal complications.