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Pregnancy Discrimination and Accommodation

With women making up more than half of today's workforce, a significant number of employees and applicants are pregnant women as well as mothers returning to work after childbirth. Under federal, state and municipal laws, women affected by pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions are entitled to protection from discrimination, harassment and retaliation. In fact, states and municipalities often provide additional rights and protections beyond federal law. Further, employers often will have to grapple with providing reasonable accommodations or leave before or after a child is born. Additionally, employers may have additional requirements under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), or other state or local laws. Thus, an employer needs to determine what laws apply based on its size and location.

The following are key steps an employer can take to effectively manage pregnant employees and minimize the risk of liability.