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What reasonable accommodations are available to pregnant workers?

When your California employer maintains a workforce of 15 or more people, that employer has a legal obligation to comply with the guidelines set by the Americans with Disabilities Act. This means that if you work for such an employer, you have certain protections available to you if you need special accommodations due to pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition.

Per the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, part of the ADA dictates that your employer must make “reasonable accommodations” for you if you require them due to your pregnancy or pregnancy-related condition. What does this mean, and what sorts of accommodations might fall under this umbrella?

Understanding reasonable accommodations

A reasonable accommodation is a change within your workplace that your employer makes to make it easier for you to perform your job. A reasonable accommodation may also be something your employer does to ensure that you receive equal benefits and privileges while pregnant, or while experiencing something related to pregnancy.

Understanding what constitutes reasonable accommodations

Your employer may have to grant you a reasonable accommodation if you need lighter duties due to your pregnancy. For example, if heavy lifting is a part of your job, your employer may need to modify your duties until heavy lifting no longer poses a threat to you or your baby. Your employer may also have to give you more frequent breaks or change your hours or schedule if you ask him or her to do so.

Often, employment disputes arise over what types of requested accommodations are, in fact, “reasonable.” Typically, the burden of proving that an accommodation is not reasonable falls on the employer.

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