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The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

March 29, 2024 Pregnancy Discrimination

How It Protects You

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) is a law that requires qualifying employers to accommodate workers who have limitations arising from pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to those. It went into effect in June 2023.

It operates similarly to the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with other types of disabilities, as long as those don’t constitute an “undue burden” to the employer.

Here’s a closer look at how the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act operates. 

Who Qualifies for Protection Under the PWFA? 

As with most worker protection laws, some employees qualify and others don’t. This is mainly affected by who you work for.

Employers that must comply with the PWFA include those in the private and public sector with at least 15 employees, as well as Congress, federal agencies, labor organizations, and employment agencies.

What Constitutes a “Reasonable Accommodation?”

A reasonable accommodation can be anything that allows you to perform your job duties despite any limitations related to your pregnancy or childbirth. This may include changes to your work environment, schedule, or job duties, either temporarily or permanently.

Some examples include:

  • A chair to sit on where you would normally be standing
  • An adjusted schedule so you can attend doctors’ appointments
  • A work from home or hybrid work schedule
  • A change in job duties so you don’t have to lift heavy objects or be exposed to chemicals hazardous to pregnancy
  • A parking spot closer to the building
  • Uniforms and safety gear that fit your body during pregnancy
  • Additional bathroom breaks
  • Extended leave to recover from childbirth

This is, of course, not a complete list. It is up to you and your employer to communicate and determine an accommodation that works best for both of you.

The employer is allowed to deny an accommodation that constitutes an “undue hardship.” Whether an accommodation is an undue hardship to any employer depends on that employer’s finances, operations, and specific circumstances, but usually it involves some combination of expenses and impact on the employer’s ability to operate.

What Other Protections Does the PWFA Provide? 

Under the PWFA, your employer is generally not allowed to do the following:

  • Make you accept an accommodation without discussion
  • Deny you a job or opportunity because of your need for an accommodation
  • Force you to take leave if there is another option that allows you to keep working
  • Retaliate against you for reporting PWFA-related discrimination or participating in an investigation

Have Questions About Your Rights Under the PWFA? Speak to an Attorney

If you need answers to questions about your rights under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, you should speak to a knowledgeable Pennsylvania employment attorney. Your attorney will help you understand your rights, and if there has been an issue, discern whether your rights have been violated and help you earn restitution in court.

Call us at 267-273-1054 or email us at for a free, confidential consultation today.

The information provided here does not constitute legal advice. It is intended for general purposes only. If you have questions about a specific legal issue, you should speak to an attorney.