Substantial Changes Coming with the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

By Nicholas J. Toyias, Esq.

Effective April 1, 2018, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (the “Act”) will expand already existing legal protections for pregnant employees, most notably, employers will be required to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnancy and related conditions such as lactation and private non-bathroom spaces to express breast milk.

In addition if an employee requests an accommodation for pregnancy or a related condition, the employer must engage in a good faith interactive process to determine an effective and reasonable accommodation.

Whether or not an accommodation is considered reasonable will depend on the nature and circumstances surrounding each particular employer, including but not limited to, the nature and cost of the accommodation, the financial resources of the employer, the overall size of the business, the type and location of the employer’s facilities, and the overall impact of the accommodation on the employer’s business.

An employer can deny an accommodation if they are able to show that such

Employers can neither take adverse action against any employee who requests or uses such reasonable accommodation or refuse to hire an applicant who could still perform the essential functions of the position if such reasonable accommodation were to be provided. Nor can an employer compel an employee to accept an unwanted accommodation that is not necessary to enable the employee to perform the essential functions of his/her position.

Employer should begin reviewing their handbooks and related policies so they can effectively implement appropriate changes to their handbooks prior to the effective date.

For additional information please do not hesitate to contact Finneran & Nicholson, P.C. at (978) 462-1514 or via email at

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