Employers are required to provide notice of the law in writing to employees in their handbooks or on physical or internet bulletin boards. The written policy must also be provided to new employees and employees who become pregnant.
To insure compliance, in addition to providing copies of the policy to employees, employers should:
1. Make reasonable accommodations for conditions related to pregnancy unless the accommodation would pose an undue hardship for the employer.
2. Once an employee requests an accommodation, the employer is to engage in a "timely, good faith and interactive process to determine an effective reasonable accommodation to enable the employee or prospective employee to perform the essential functions of the employee's job. . ." That interactive process should be documented.
3. Certain basic reasonable accommodations should be provided without a request for a doctor's note -
* Breaks for food, water, or bathroom use,
* Limits on lifting more than 20 pounds, and
* A private, non- bathroom space for expressing milk.
4. Reasonable accommodations for which a doctor's note may be requested include -
* Reduced/changed schedules or time off,
* Modified equipment,
* Transfer to less strenuous work,
* Job restructuring, and
* Light duty
5. A “reasonable accommodation” is defined as one which does not create an “undue hardship” for the employer. Undue hardships are those which result in excessive cost or use of the employer’s resources. Determining what is an “undue hardship” will be dependent on the employer’s size, number of employees and the nature of its work and facilities.
6. Employers may not require a pregnant employee to accept a specific accommodation.
If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Stoneman, Chandler & Miller LLP
99 High Street
Boston, MA 02110
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