Shira M. Blank, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s New York office, was quoted in the Bloomberg Law Daily Labor Report, in “Pregnancy Bias Law Now Enforceable Despite Lack of EEOC Guidance,” by George Weykamp.

Following is an excerpt:

A new law that provides unprecedented federal job protections for pregnant workers has spurred employers to focus on achieving compliance even as some regulations relevant to the statute’s enforcement have yet to be issued.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act will go into effect Tuesday, about six months after it was signed into law by President Joe Biden. The legislation mirrors the Americans with Disabilities Act by requiring employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees, as long as those accommodations do not “impose undue hardship on the operation of the business.” …

Legal Enforcement

The law applies to all establishments with at least 15 employees and protects those who have limitations related to “pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.”

The PWFA comes after over a decade of calls for greater protections for pregnant workers. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act, passed in 1978, prohibits employers from discriminating against current or prospective employees on the basis of pregnancy but doesn’t explicitly guarantee accommodations. …

Shira Blank, a member at Epstein Becker & Green in New York, said the new law functions as an extension of the ADA, and employers will likely apply the same protections they use under that statute.

However, there are some important differences in the two laws. Unlike the ADA, the PWFA says employers can’t require pregnant employees to take “paid or unpaid leave if another reasonable accommodation can be provided.” …

Blank said proving remote work caused an “undue strain” on a business would be difficult in the post-COVID-19 world.

“If someone was able to complete the job before, the employer is now going to have to contend with any answer that they cannot now complete that job remotely,” she said.

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