This legislative session, West Virginia lawmakers passed a new piece of legislation ensuring that pregnant employees in West Virginia can expect to receive reasonable accommodations by their employer to ensure they can remain at work as long as they choose before childbirth.
The Pregnant Worker's Fairness Act makes it unlawful to discriminate specifically against pregnant employees. It requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees as long as it does not cause undue hardship.
Pregnant employees will need to get a note from their doctor specifying what the accommodation should be, such as being allowed to sit, taking extra breaks to drink water or use the restroom, or having a space and time during the day to pump milk. However, pregnant employees don't have to have to accept just any accommodation. Meaning, just because an accommodation is offered doesn't mean the employer is off the hook under the new law.
For example, if a new mom is just returning to work and needs somewhere she can pump milk for her baby, she doesn't have to accept her employer's suggestion that she use the janitor's closet. The employee has a right to ask for a reasonable accommodation, which in this case most people would agree would be a clean, safe place, like an extra office or a conference room that isn't being used.
If you have been the target of workplace harassment, discrimination or unfair termination as the result of pregnancy, childbirth or maternity leave, Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. represents clients in federal court and before the EEOC, MSPB and in state and union grievance hearings.
Our attorneys have more than 35 years dedicated to giving clients the attention, advice, support and empowerment they need to effectively meet their goals. We are committed to the principle that all persons shall have equal justice under the law. Call Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. at 304.523.8451 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.