July 5, 2017
BOSTON- Senator Sal DiDomenico and his colleagues in the Massachusetts Senate unanimously voted to pass an Act Establishing the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. This bill ensures that pregnant workers are protected from discrimination in the workplace. In addition to protecting the health of pregnant employees, the bill also promotes economic security for workers and their families.
“No woman should have to choose between keeping her job and maintaining healthy and safe pregnancy,” said Senator Sal DiDomenico, a co-sponsor of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. “However, the unfortunate reality is that women in Massachusetts still risk losing their jobs when they become pregnant, and many others are exposed to unsafe working conditions that threaten the well-being of themselves and their children. I am proud to support this important piece of legislation, which will undoubtedly make workplaces fairer and safer for all.”
Under this legislation, employers are prohibited from discriminating against an employee or prospective employee due to pregnancy or a condition related to the pregnancy. Employers are also required to provide reasonable accommodations for workers who are pregnant. At the request of a pregnant employee, employers must undergo a good faith and interactive process to determine an effective reasonable accommodation.
Provisions include low cost modifications such as providing employees with a stool to sit on, allowing for more frequent bathroom breaks, and allowing the worker to carry a bottle of water. Employers are not required to provide accommodations that would impose an undue hardship on the employer’s business.
In addition, employers are prohibited from refusing to hire a pregnant job candidate solely because the candidate requires a reasonable accommodation. Employers are not permitted to force pregnant employees to accept an accommodation that they do not want or to take leave if another reasonable accommodation may be provided.
The Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act makes the Commonwealth a leader in addressing pregnancy discrimination and positions the state at the front of a national movement.
The bill will now be reconciled with the House version of the bill, which was passed last month, before being sent to the Governor for his signature.