Pregnant Workers and Nursing Mothers Obtain New Protections in the Workplace

 In Employment Law, Overtime Law, Wage Law

New Federal Laws Protect Pregnant Workers and Nursing Mothers

If you are a pregnant worker or nursing mother, you are now afforded additional protections in the workplace under federal law. Congress recently enacted two laws — the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (“PWFA”) and the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (“PUMP Act”). Both laws protect pregnant and nursing workers and were met with the approval of the White House and signed into law.

Going forward, pregnant workers and nursing mothers will have additional rights in the workplace under federal law. If you are a pregnant worker or nursing mother and your employer violates either of these laws, you will be entitled to file a lawsuit to enforce the law and recover money damages, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, costs, back pay, reinstatement, and more.

If you think your rights as an employee have been violated by your employer, including your rights as a pregnant worker or nursing mother, call us here at Herrmann Law. We are driven and experienced Employee Rights Lawyers and Wage and Hour Litigators who can help you vindicate your rights. Call us at (817) 479-9229. We offer legal representation for employees all across the country.

Protecting Pregnant Workers in the Workplace – Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act requires that employers make reasonable accommodations for pregnant and nursing workers. The PWFA applies to any company or business with more than 14 employees. The employer must have a conversation with a pregnant worker or nursing worker about possible reasonable accommodations.

In other words, if you are a pregnant worker or nursing worker, your employer cannot just say “no.” Whatever accommodations proposed, the employer does not have to agree to them if such would cause the employer “undue hardship.” That is a vague standard but is usually defined as an excessive amount of expenses or a serious disruption in business operations. Note further that whatever accommodation is agreed to will be considered temporary.

More specifically, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act makes it unlawful under federal law for any employer in the United States with more than 14 employees to do any of the following:

  • Refuse or fail to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers or nursing mothers in the workplace (within the limits of “undue hardship”)
  • Refuse or fail to have an interactive dialog with a pregnant worker or nursing mother who needed accommodation related to pregnancy or nursing
  • Force a worker to accept accommodations imposed through a non-interactive process
  • Force an employee to take a leave of absence instead of a reasonable accommodation
  • Retaliate against an employee for exercising her rights under the PWFA
  • Retaliate against other employees who help employees exercise their rights under the PWFA
  • Use any sort of coercion, threats, or interference towards those exercising their rights under the PWFA

Protecting Nursing Mothers in the Workplace – The PUMP Act

The PUMP Act is aimed at protecting workers who need to lactate and express milk in the workplace. In general, the PUMP Act requires companies and businesses to provide the following:

  • Reasonable rest and break times for workers who need to express milk
  • A secure and private location for lactation
  • A location other than a bathroom

Many States have similar legislation. Now, the requirements apply to employers nationwide. The PUMP Act applies to employers with at least 50 employees, and there are some exempt businesses like commercial airline carriers (in-flight crews) and others. Employees whose rights are violated can recover the types of damages listed above.

Call the Employee Rights Attorneys at Herrmann Law

For more information, call the Employee Rights attorneys at Herrmann Law. If you think that your employer has violated your rights as an employee, call us. We are proven, experienced, employee-focused attorneys representing workers across the United States in all types of workplace disputes. Use our Online Contact page or call us at (817) 479-9229. We are more than just a law firm for employees – we are an employee’s fiercest advocate, equipping employees with the legal representation needed to achieve the best result possible.


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