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Requirements increasing for employers with pregnant workers

Wisconsin employers and employees may want to note that 14 different jurisdictions in the United States now have requirements that specifically address accommodations that must be made in the workplace for pregnant workers. Some of the requirements are at the local level, and others cover all employers in the state. Some requirements are imposed on employers with as few as one employee, and others put requirements on employers with a larger number of workers.

The first states to put laws into place protecting pregnant workers were Hawaii and Louisiana. Both states did so during the 1990s. More recently, New York City, Philadelphia and the state of Connecticut have put requirements in place without requiring a doctor's input. California, New Jersey and West Virginia require an employer to accommodate a pregnant employee if a physician has recommended work-place adjustments for the employee.

In a third group of states, including Maryland, Alaska, Texas and Illinois, if a health care provider indicates that an employee is disabled by the pregnancy, an employer must make accommodations to keep the employee on the job. For Texas, Alaska and Illinois, the rules are only in place for some public, municipal or county employers.

It is not just the employers in the locations that have recently enacted laws and are thus affected, but all employers everywhere should be aware of the trend that is developing to protect pregnant workers on the job. As new laws are put in place that address employer accommodation and medical leave for pregnancy, the understanding and implementation in the work arena may require input from legal advisers so that both employers and employees understand their duties and benefits.

Source: Forbes, "Proliferating State & Local Pregnancy Accommodation Laws Make Modifying ADA/FMLA Procedures A Must For Most Employers", Amanda Haverstick , June 17, 2014

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