After a year’s wait, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission published final regulations and interpretive guidance for the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA). These regulations expand coverage beyond what employers might expect. Employers should become familiar with these requirements and take certain risk-reducing actions before the regulations take effect June 18.1

Five Key Takeaways

1) Protection extends beyond pregnancy-related disabilities. The regulations provide a substantially lower impairment threshold for accommodation than the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employers must reasonably accommodate “known limitations” arising from “physical or mental condition(s) related to, affected by, or arising out of pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions,” regardless of the severity of the condition. This broad definition includes but is not limited to current pregnancy, past pregnancy, potential or intended pregnancy, labor and childbirth. Thus, conditions such as infertility, menstruation, endometriosis, miscarriages, abortions, breastfeeding, pumping, hemorrhoids, nausea, anxiety and postpartum depression may be covered.2 Preexisting conditions affected by pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition that cause a limitation are also covered.