EEOC Finalizes Pregnancy Workers Fairness Act

April 18, 2024 - Christine Gantt-Sorenson
The EEOC issued its Final Rule and Interpretive Guidance implementing the Pregnancy Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) on Monday, April 15, 2024. The Rule becomes effective sixty days after it is published in the Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Appendix A to part 1636.
Some of the EEOC’s modifications in the Final Rule include the following clarifications:
  • The PWFA protects applicants, employees and former employees and applies to public and private employers with fifteen or more employees, unions, employment agencies and the federal government.
  • The PWFA applies to medical or mental conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth whether the medical or mental conditions were originally caused by pregnancy or childbirth or are the substantial reason the physical or mental condition exists. The EEOC noted pregnancy and childbirth cause systemic changes that can not only create new physical and mental conditions but exacerbate preexisting conditions and/or cause additional pain or risk.
  • The PWFA applies to temporary conditions that are limited for a time and not permanent, noting those applicable to pregnancy will last for up to forty weeks. The agency clarified that the accommodations however may not need to be continued for the entire 40 weeks and will be based on the employee involved requires. The EEEOC declined to discuss the length of time applicable to other medical and mental conditions falling within the Act’s ambit.
  • Employees should not be made to wait for the requested accommodation, especially when the accommodation is simple and imposes little cost or is temporary.
  • Employers are only subject to accommodation requests known to the employer.
  • Physical or mental conditions for which an accommodation is required may or may not be disabilities within the meaning of the ADA and may be modest, minor or episodic, clarifying the EEOC’s intention that the PWFA apply to all types of limitations.
  • The limitation must be that of the employee and not that of the employee’s spouse, partner or family member.
  • The Rule provides examples of accommodations and scenarios that may arise to illustrate application of the Rule.
  • The EEOC’s “Know your Rights” poster will not be updated from the 2023 version issued by the EEOC.
For questions related to this and other employment law matters, please contact Chris or a member of the HSB Employment Law practice team.