Effective March 3, 2015, the District of Columbia’s Protecting Pregnant Workers Fairness Act of 2014 (PPWFA) will require employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees whose ability to perform the functions of their job is limited by pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions, including breastfeeding, as long as the accommodations do not cause undue hardship to the employer. Under the statute, employers must engage in the interactive process with employees who request accommodations to include:
- More frequent or longer breaks;
- Time off to recover from childbirth;
- Temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position;
- Acquisition or modification of equipment or seating;
- Temporary light duty or modified work schedules;
- Having the employee refrain from heavy lifting;
- Relocation of a work area; or
- Providing of private non-bathroom space for expressing breast milk.
Employers must also post the notice of PPWFA rights, in English and Spanish; in a conspicuous place and provide the notice to:
- New hires at the commencement of employment;
- All existing employees within 120 days after the law’s effective date (July 1, 2015); and
- An employee who notifies the employer of her pregnancy or other covered condition, within 10 days of the notification.
For non-English or Spanish speaking employees, employers must provide an accurate written translation of the notice, pursuant to Section 4 of the Language Access Act of 2004. Employers may require an employee to provide a certification from the employee’s health care provider concerning the medical advisability of the reasonable accommodation to the same extent a certification is required for other temporary disabilities.
Employers who violate an employee’s rights under PPWFA will be subjected to civil fines, penalties, suspension or revocation of the employer’s business registration certificates, permits, and licenses under the District of Columbia’s Department of Employment Services. Employees who establish a violation of the PPWFA may receive back pay, reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs and reinstatement or other injunctive relief.
For more information about the Protecting Pregnant Workers Fairness Act of 2014, please visit http://www.dcregs.dc.gov/Gateway/NoticeHome.aspx?noticeid=5173512
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