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Must Connecticut Employers Accommodate Pregnant Workers? Yes, and Maybe Even Moreso Come October.

Posted June 9, 2017
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If Governor Malloy signs it, a new law—sHB 6668, “AN ACT CONCERNING PREGNANT WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE”—will alter existing protections for pregnant employees, effective on October 1, 2017.  

Unlike the current law, this new law would explicitly require employers to provide “reasonable accommodations” for pregnant employees or applicants, unless the employer shows that the accommodation would be an “undue hardship,” as those terms are defined in the Act.  The new law contains a non-exclusive list of reasonable accommodations, including things like more frequent breaks, periodic rest and temporary transfers.

The new law will also make it illegal for employers to do things like “limit, segregate or classify” the employee in a way that would deprive her of employment opportunities due to her pregnancy, and it certainly will prohibit discrimination against the pregnant worker "on the basis" of pregnancy. An important provision in the new law specifically will prohibit an employer from requiring a pregnant worker to take time off, if an alternative reasonable accommodation exists.

Employers will also have to update their employment law posters to reflect the new law.

Connecticut's basic discrimination law will not be affected by this new law, and of course will continue to prohibit an employer from, among other things, terminating a woman's employment because of her pregnancy, refusing to grant the employee reasonable leave for disability resulting from the pregnancy, and failing to reinstate the employee to her original job or an equivalent one upon her return (with some limitations).

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU:  Well, it means an update to your company handbook if you have one, and also means whoever handles your company's personnel matters (hiring, firing, policy enforcement) needs to be aware of this new law.

 

About the Author

Business and Employment Litigation Attorney Anthony Minchella

Tony represents Fortune 50 financial services companies, retail giants, and small and large specialty products companies in employment litigation, trade secret and non-competition litigation, and unfair trade practice issues. When acting as local counsel, Tony, an adjunct professor of law on Connecticut Civil Procedure at Quinnipiac Law School, helps lead counsel navigate the nuances of Connecticut state and federal court practice. Tony graduated magna cum laude from Quinnipiac University School of Law. He passed the New Jersey, New York and Connecticut bar exams and then moved on to careers with large and small firms which led to his boutique litigation practice.