Don't HR Alone #31 - Pregnancy Accommodation and Minneapolis Minimum Wage

July Question of the Month

Question: An employee who is 30 weeks pregnant requested a different work assignment as an accommodation for her pregnancy because she is nearing the end of her term. Are we required to provide her this accommodation under the federal law? Answer: It depends. Pregnancy alone, without complications, is not a disability requiring reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Therefore, an employer is not required to offer another work assignment to a pregnant employee to accommodate her late-term pregnancy if her pregnancy is otherwise normal. However, if an employee experiences complications with the pregnancy and those complications result in the employee being disabled, accommodations could be required unless they would result in undue hardships for the employer. In 2015, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) provided guidance on certain pregnancy-related conditions that could be considered disabilities and described the ways employers could accommodate these conditions under the ADA. Two examples are:

  • Redistributing non-fundamental or non-essential job functions an employee can no longer perform due to the disability, such as modifying lifting requirements for someone with pregnancy-related sciatica.

  • Modifying how non-fundamental or non-essential job functions are performed, such as allowing someone with pregnancy-related carpel tunnel syndrome to dictate information for a weekly report versus typing the information.

Additionally, under the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) and regulations, an employer is required to treat pregnant employees who are tem