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.