An employer must not discriminate against a pregnant worker or treat them differently that it would any other worker. In New Jersey, the 2014 enactment of the Pregnant Worker’s Fairness Act (“PWFA”) imposes new obligations upon the employer, namely to provide special accommodations to employees who are pregnant or “affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth, including recovery from childbirth.” The employer is prohibited from treating a woman that the employer knows or should know to be affected by pregnancy in a less favorable manner than a similarly situated non-pregnant employee. The woman is not considered disabled or unable to do her job, but rather, is entitled to ask for certain accommodations that will allow her to do her job while pregnant. The employer is required to provide these accommodations in the work place and leave from work is not considered to be one of those accommodations. The requested accommodation must follow the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) standards and still be “reasonable” and are generally comfort based and relate to adding breaks, lifting restrictions, modified work schedules, less strenuous or hazardous work etc.
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