New Jersey Pregnant Workers Fairness Act – What It Means To Your Business

on February 27, 2014 by Kara Larsen

Kara Larsen picIn January of this year, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed the Pregnant Worker’s Fairness Act (PWFA), which took effect immediately and it applies to all New Jersey employers. Pregnancy is now considered a protected category under New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD).

What does this mean to New Jersey employers? The PWFA not only prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, but it also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees. Thus, when a pregnant employee requests certain accommodations based upon direction from her doctor, the employer must meet the request unless it would impose an undue hardship on the business operations. A few examples of reasonable accommodations that an employer should provide under the law include:

  • Rest breaks
  • Restroom breaks
  • Restricted and assistance with manual labor
  • Breaks for increased water intake
  • Reasonable modification of work schedule
  • Temporary transfer to less strenuous or dangerous job tasks

The new law expressly states that it is not intended to impact an employee’s rights to be paid or not paid leave under existing law.

What constitutes “undue hardship” under the amended LAD is determined by the same factors considered in whether an accommodation for a disabled employee is an undue hardship, which include:

  • The overall size of the employer’s business with respect to the number of employees,
  • The number and type of facilities
  • The size of budget
  • The type of the employer’s operations
  • The nature and cost of the accommodation needed (the availability of tax credits, tax deductions, and outside funding are taken into consideration as well)
  • The extent to which the accommodation would involve waiver of an essential requirement of a job

If your business needs advice and guidance in how to comply with the requirements of the PWFA and amended LAD, contact Slater, Tenaglia, Fritz & Hunt, P.A.

For a free initial consultation with skilled corporate litigation lawyers, contact Slater, Tenaglia, Fritz & Hunt, P.A. We have been providing outstanding legal services for more than 35 years. We are conveniently located in New York and New Jersey. To schedule your appointment, please call us at (201) 820-6001 or (212) 692-0200. We can also be found on the Internet, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Youtube. We also have a network of local counsel throughout the United States.