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New Nevada law promotes fairness to pregnant workers

The law in Nevada entitles pregnant workers to the same protections from discrimination as other workers. As such, the law provides that employers must allow pregnant employees reasonable accommodations, just as they must with others with potential limitations.

 The State of Nevada has recently stepped up on behalf of pregnant workers with the Nevada Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act. The effective date of this state law is October 1, 2017. It dictates that pregnant employees are to be free from unlawful employment practices based on their conditions, as well as safe from discrimination.

 Nevada Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act

 Under the new law, pregnant workers can successfully request a reasonable accommodation if they need to based on their medical condition. The law clarifies the following:

  • Pregnancy-related medical conditions include recent childbirth
  • An employer must grant a properly requested accommodation so long as the request does not create an undue hardship on the employer
  • An employer may not retaliate against a pregnant worker for seeking an accommodation
  • An employer may not deny a job opportunity to a pregnant individual based on the current, past or expected future request for an accommodation

Note, however, that an employer may require that the worker, like other workers, submit relevant and permitted documentation from the treating physician to support the requested accommodation.

United States Supreme Court ruling

This new state law comes on the heels of a federal Supreme Court case. USA Today reported that the federal case involved the rights of pregnant workers to receive a reasonable accommodation as well. In that matter, however, the court did not go as far as Nevada’s new law, but noted that an employer may not credibly deny a pregnant worker’s request for accommodation if the employer allowed the accommodation to a substantial number of other employees.

Pregnancy discrimination law is a complicated and changing area, but recognizing the rights that Nevada law affords to workers may provide expectant parents with some peace of mind. Pregnant workers should keep in mind the following:

  • Marital status is not relevant, as the law applies to married or unmarried
  • The law considers pregnancy to be a nonpermanent medical disability
  • The employer must provide workers the same treatment as others with a medical condition

In addition, as long as the worker is able to do the job, the employer cannot force an employee to take leave due to pregnancy.

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