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Kentucky Expands Protections for Pregnant Workers

On April 9, 2019, Gov. Matt Bevin signed into law the Kentucky Pregnant Workers Act (KYPWA), which expands protections for pregnant employees under the Kentucky Civil Rights Act, KRS 344.010, et seq.

Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnancy

Effective June 27, 2019, employers with 15 or more employees in Kentucky in at least 20 calendar weeks in the current or preceding year will be required to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions.  Under the KYPWA, reasonable accommodations may include:

  • More frequent/longer breaks;
  • Time off to recover from childbirth;
  • Acquisition/modification of equipment;
  • Appropriate seating;
  • Temporary transfer to a less strenuous/hazardous position;
  • Job restructuring;
  • Light duty;
  • Modified work schedule; and
  • Private space (other than a bathroom) to express breast milk.

Additionally, the KYPWA provides that employers and employees engage in a timely, good faith, and interactive process to determine effective reasonable accommodations, and employees will not be required to take leave if a reasonable accommodation can be provided.

Undue Hardship Exception

The KYPWA provides an exception for accommodations that would place an undue hardship on employers. Factors to be considered in determining the existence of an undue hardship include:

  • The number of workers employed by the employer;
  • The employer’s size/financial resources;
  • The nature of the employer’s business/operations;
  • The nature and cost of the accommodation needed;
  • The duration of the requested accommodation; and
  • Whether similar accommodations are required by policy to be made, or have been made, or are being made for other employees for any reason.

Notice Requirements

Also effective on June 27, 2019, employers in Kentucky must provide written notice prohibiting discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions, including the right to a reasonable accommodation, to all new employees. All existing employees must receive written notice no later than July 27, 2019. Additionally, employers must conspicuously post notice of the KYPWA at their place of business in an area accessible to employees.

Next Steps for Employers

Kentucky employers should update their policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the KYPWA before the effective date. 

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About this Author

James L. Bobbitt, III Dinsmore employment lawyer

James has experience counseling clients in a variety of employment matters and navigating them through various stages of litigation, including responding to pleadings, drafting dispositive motions, discovery and developing strategic defenses for trial. He focuses his practice on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Kentucky Civil Rights Act and other state and federal employment statutes.

He is a graduate of Washington University School of Law, where he...

(502) 540-2538
Faith Whittaker, Dinsmore Law Firm, Cincinnati, Labor and Employment Law Attorney

A partner in the Employment, Labor and Benefits Department, Faith has experience guiding clients through issues that arise in the workplace. She handles employment-related litigation for her clients, who range from local businesses to Fortune 500 companies.

Understanding each client has different tolerances and objectives in dealing with employment matters, Faith is passionate about learning her client’s industry and gaining insight into their operations. While always prepared to vigorously proceed through litigation, she teams with her clients to conduct a thorough evaluation of the case, examining the risks and options before crafting a unique strategy that meets their needs. She works with in-house counsel and legal departments, as well human resources officials and company executives, in analyzing each matter and charting the best course toward a resolution. Faith handles litigation relating to all facets of employment law, including, but not limited to, discrimination claims, retaliation claims, wrongful discharge claims, class and collective actions, claims relating to background checks, wage and hour claims, noncompetition issues, and common law tort claims. She also handles wage/hour and exemption issues for clients and has extensive experience in negotiating settlements.