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MCAD Issues Guidance on the Pregnant Worker Fairness Act

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act becomes effective on April 1, 2018 and will be enforced by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.  In anticipation, the Commission has issued a short Guidance that is available here, on Mass.gov.  As highlighted in the Guidance, the Act expressly prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, such lactation or the need to express breast milk.  Generally, employers may not treat employees – or job applicants – less favorably than other employees are treated based on pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions.

The Act provides pregnant women and new mothers with a right to reasonable accommodations from their employers for pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions whether or not they have a “handicap” as defined by law.  Employers cannot require medical documentation to support requests for accommodations regarding: (i) more frequent restroom, food or water breaks; (ii) seating; (iii) limits on lifting no more than 20 pounds; and (iv) private, non-bathroom space for expressing breast milk. An employer, may, however, request medical documentation for other requested accommodations.

The Act itself is available here.

© 2020 SHERIN AND LODGEN LLPNational Law Review, Volume VIII, Number 43


About this Author

David I Brody, attorney, employment law

David Brody is an associate in Sherin and Lodgen’s employment law and litigation departments. He represents clients in a wide range of matters, including wage and hour issues, wrongful termination, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, and contract negotiation and enforcement. David has represented clients in both federal and state courts in Massachusetts and in Public Hearings before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) and the Civil Service Commission.

Nancy S. Shilepsky. Employment Attorney, Sherin and Lodgen Law FIrm

Nancy S. Shilepsky is a leading influence in the world of executive advocacy, employment law and employment litigation. In May 2015, Nancy was selected as a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America (LCA). The LCA is a trial lawyer honorary society composed of less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers. Fellowship in the LCA is highly selective and by invitation only. Fellows are selected based upon excellence and accomplishment in litigation, and superior ethical reputation. She has been a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers since 2000.