As 2017 starts to wind down, Massachusetts employers should start reviewing and revising their employment policies and practices so they are prepared for the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), which goes into effect on April 1, 2018 and requires employers with six or more employees to provide written notice to their employees of their right to be free from pregnancy discrimination.
Last month, a California state appellate court issued a decision that, as the dissent characterized, went “where no one has gone before.” In Castro-Ramirez v. Dependable Highway Express, Inc., the court held that California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) – California’s anti-discrimination law – requires an employer to provide a reasonable accommodation to a nondisabled employee who associates with a disabled person. This troubling and broad interpretation of the law, which effectively would import a caregiver accommodation requirement into the law, has certainly captured the attention of employers even outside this jurisdiction.
I was quoted in a Law360 article entitled High Court UPS Ruling Means Changes to EEOC Guidance, in which I comment on the significance (or lack thereof) of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Young v. UPS decision where it introduced a new “significant burden” standard in pregnancy discrimination cases. The article also outlines the decision’s discussion of the EEOC’s updated pregnancy discrimination guidelines.
On March 3, 2015, the D.C. Protecting Pregnant Workers Fairness Act of 2014 became effective. The Act provides increased protections for pregnant workers and requires employers to provide reasonable workplace accommodations for workers whose ability to perform job functions are limited by pregnancy, childbirth, a related medical condition, or breastfeeding. The Act, which applies to all D.C. employers, contains several important components, which are briefly described below.