Five New Challenges Facing Retail Employers

Employee Relations Law Journal

Susan Gross Sholinsky, a Member of the Firm in the Labor and Employment practice, in the New York office, and Nancy Gunzenhauser, an Associate in the Labor and Employment practice, in the New York office, co-wrote an article titled "Five New Challenges Facing Retail Employers."

Following is an excerpt:

Pregnancy Accommodation

Several states and municipalities across the country have recently enacted statutory protections for pregnant workers. Such laws, which generally protect pregnant employees from discrimination and require reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers (regardless of whether the employees are disabled by the pregnancy), particularly impact retailers due to the nature of the work performed by retail employees.

For example, New Jersey recently amended its Law Against Discrimination ("LAD") to add pregnancy as a protected category. For purposes of the LAD, "pregnancy" means "childbirth, or medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth, including recovery from childbirth." In addition to prohibiting discrimination against pregnant employees, the statute now requires New Jersey employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers. The amended LAD includes several examples of potential accommodations, including bathroom breaks, breaks for increased water intake, periodic rest, assistance with manual labor, job restructuring or modified work schedules, and temporary transfers to less strenuous or hazardous work. Other states with similar laws include Alaska, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, and Texas. New York City also recently amended its Human Rights Law to provide for similar protections of pregnant workers.