The Trend Continues … Pittsburgh Passes Pregnancy Accommodation Legislation

October 28, 2014 | By

Earlier this month, the Pittsburgh City Council unanimously passed two city ordinances requiring employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers. The new legislation provides for temporary job restructuring and modified work schedules for pregnant employees, as well as granting pregnant workers access to drinking water, uncompensated breaks, and assistance with heavy lifting requirements.

The Pittsburgh ordinances only apply to city employees or those employed by certain companies with city contracts in excess of $250,000. As with other accommodation laws, employers are not required to make accommodations that interfere with essential job functions or present an undue hardship for the employer. 

In an interview with Pittsburgh Public Radio, City Council member Dan Gilman, who introduced the legislation, cited examples of pregnant workers in Pennsylvania who needed to have a stool to sit, keep a water bottle to stay hydrated, or take more regular breaks during pregnancy and were being fired for these actions. Pittsburgh is just the latest example of a growing number of states and municipalities, including Philadelphia, New York City, Delaware, Maryland, Minnesota and New Jersey, which have passed similar legislation requiring accommodations for pregnant workers. 

In addition to this growing trend of state and local laws, it appears that pregnancy accommodations will continue to be a hot issue in the coming months. In December, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a high-profile employment law case regarding whether the Pregnancy Discrimination Act requires employers to accommodate pregnant employees with work restrictions if they accommodate non-pregnant employees with the same restrictions.Young v. United Parcel Serv. Inc. (No.12-1226).

Please stay tuned to our blog for additional updates.