Employers must provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant women

On Behalf of | Jan 2, 2023 | Employment Law

While pregnancy can be one of the most exciting times in a parent’s life, it can also be challenging. There are a variety of conditions that can occur with pregnancy. Additionally, if a person overworks while pregnant, they risk miscarriage and other injuries. According to the EEOC, employers must make reasonable accommodations for people who have disabilities.

Pregnant women are considered to have temporary disabilities. While many women can return to work after a few weeks or months following the pregnancy, every woman has a right to be treated the same as any other employee.

Why are pregnant women regarded as having a disability?

Pregnancy can substantially limit major life activities, so the EEOC considers pregnancy an ADA disability. For instance, some women may experience severe headaches, nausea, dizziness, high blood pressure and abdominal pain during pregnancy. Different pregnancy-related conditions like preeclampsia can result in women requiring bed rest. Women may have difficulties standing, walking or sitting.

What are reasonable accommodations?

Employers must provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees. Reasonable accommodations are changes that enable the employee to perform her job. The only time employers can say no to accommodation is if the accommodation results in an undue hardship on the business.

For instance, an employee may require longer restroom breaks or modified food policies. Employees may be unable to lift heavy objects and have to sit frequently.

In addition to providing accommodations during pregnancy, an employer must also provide accommodations following childbirth. Often, parents require a place to express breast milk within the company.