Final Regulation on Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

On April 15, 2024, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued a final rule to implement the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (“PWFA”).The PWFA requires most employers with 15 or more employees to provide “reasonable accommodations,” or changes at work, for a worker’s known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless the accommodation will cause the employer an undue hardship.

The PWFA requires a covered employer to engage in the interactive process with the employee. Leave (paid or unpaid) is permitted as an accommodation only if no other reasonable accommodation exists, or unless the employee asks for leave as an accommodation.

The final rules define “known limitation” as one that is arising out of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical condition and communicated to the employer (even if the limitation would not be considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act).There is no level of severity required to trigger an employer’s obligation and, therefore, any physical or mental condition related to pregnancy is covered by the PWFA.

An employer may request information to confirm the connection between a communicated limitation and the pregnancy, childbirth, or related condition.

An employee or applicant may be “qualified” even if they cannot perform the functions of the job with an accommodation, so long as they can “in the near future,” which has been defined as roughly 40 weeks of each limited job function.

Employers should be aware that some accommodations may not require documentation.

Additionally, the EEOC has interpreted the PWFA to include providing accommodation for or related to abortion and/or fertility treatment. On April 25, 2024, 17 states filed a lawsuit challenging the final rule entitling workers for time off and other accommodations for or related to abortion. Please stay tuned for additional updates. In the meantime, if you have any questions about the PWFA, please contact one of the attorneys below.

Barrett McNagny LLP

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