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MA Fair Workers Pregnant Act effective April 1, 2018
Friday, March 02, 2018 -


An Act establishing the

Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

CHAPTER 54 of the Acts of 2017 (H3816)

 

EFFECTIVE DATE:

APRIL 1, 2018

PURPOSE:

Make it unlawful to discriminate against pregnant women and those with conditions related to pregnancy (lactation, etc.) in the workplace by amending M.G.L. Chapter 151b, §4 - which lists unlawful acts of discrimination in Massachusetts.

REQUIREMENTS:

IT SHALL BE AN UNLAWFUL PRACTICE TO:

·         Deny Reasonable Accommodation - for an employee’s pregnancy or related condition, provided, however, that an employer may deny an accommodation if they can demonstrate the accommodation imposes an undue hardship on the employer’s program, enterprise or business;

·         Take Adverse Action Against an Employee requesting or using a reasonable accommodation in terms, conditions or privileges of employment including:

1.       Failing to reinstate the employee to original employment status or equivalent position with equivalent pay and accumulated seniority, retirement, fringe benefits and other service credits when the need for a reasonable accommodation ceases;

2.      Deny an employment opportunity to an employee if the denial is based on the need of the employer to make a reasonable accommodation for the employee’s pregnancy/conditions;

3.      Require an employee to accept an accommodation that the employee chooses not to accept, if that accommodation is unnecessary to enable the employee to perform the essential functions of the job;

4.      Require an employee to take a leave if another reasonable accommodation may be provided for the known conditions without undue hardship on the employer’s program, enterprise or business;

5.      Refuse to hire a person who is pregnant; provided, however, that the person is capable of performing the essential functions of the position with a reasonable accommodation and that reasonable accommodation would not impose an undue hardship, demonstrated by the employer, on the employer’s program, enterprise or business.

DEFINITIONS:

Reasonable accommodation” - may include, but shall not be limited to:

1.       More frequent or longer paid or unpaid breaks;

2.      Time off to attend to a pregnancy complication or recover from childbirth with or without pay;

3.      Acquisition or modification of equipment or seating;

4.      Temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position;

5.      Job restructuring;

6.      Light duty;

7.      Private non-bathroom space for expressing breast milk;

8.     Assistance with manual labor;

9.      Modified work schedule; provided, however, that an employer shall not be required to discharge or transfer an employee with more seniority or promote an employee who is not able to perform the essential functions of the job with or without a reasonable accommodation.

Undue hardship” - An action requiring significant difficulty or expense; provided, however, that the employer shall have the burden of proving undue hardship; and in making a determination of undue hardship, the following factors shall be considered:

1.       The nature and cost of the needed accommodation;

2.      The overall financial resources of the employer;

3.      The overall size of the business of the employer with respect to the number of employees and the number, type and location of its facilities;

4.      The effect on expenses and resources or any other impact of the accommodation on the employer’s program, enterprise or business.

DOCUMENTATION FOR REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION

An employer may require documentation about the need for a reasonable accommodation from an appropriate health care or rehabilitation professional; provided that documentation is not needed for the following accommodations:

1.       More frequent restroom, food or water breaks;

2.      Seating;

3.      Limits on lifting over 20 pounds;

4.      Private non-bathroom space for expressing breast milk.

WRITTEN NOTICE OF RIGHTS

Written notice of the right to be free from discrimination in relation to pregnancy or a condition related shall be distributed by an employer to its employees.

USEFUL/RELATED LINKS:

COSTANGY, BROOKS, SMITH & PROPHETE: MA EXPANDS EMPLOYERS OBLIGATIONS TO ACCOMMODATE PREGNANT EMPLOYEES

https://www.constangy.com/newsroom-newsletters-747;

BUSINESS & LEGAL RESOURCES: MA Maternity & Pregnancy: What You Need to Know

https://www.blr.com/Compensation/Discrimination/Maternity-and-Pregnancy-in-Massachusetts;

MINTZ LEVIN: MA Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Goes into Effect April 1, 2018

https://www.employmentmattersblog.com/2017/10/ma-pregnant-workers-fairness-act-goes-into-effect-april-1-2018/;

ZDB BOSTON LAWYER BLOG: MA Legislature Passes Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

https://www.bostonlawyerblog.com/2017/06/30/massachusetts-legislature-passes-pregnant-workers-fairness-act/

Posted By : Megan Servello

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