- Colorado Adopts New Pregnancy Accommodation Law
Posted September 28, 2016
Employers take heed: on August 10, 2016, HB 16-1438, also known as the Pregnancy Accommodation Law, became effective across the state. The law adds a new section to the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act which requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees (or applicants for employment) for conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth, including physical recovery from childbirth.
Employers will commit an unfair employment practice if they fail to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees or applicants unless such accommodation creates an undue hardship on the employer. Examples of reasonable accommodations include:
More frequent or longer break periods;
More frequent restroom, food, and water breaks;
Acquisition or modification of equipment or seating;
Limitations on lifting;
Temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position if available (with a return to the current position after pregnancy);
Light duty, if available;
Assistance with manual labor; or
Modified work schedule.
In addition to providing reasonable accommodations, employers are also prohibited from taking adverse action against an employee who requests or uses a reasonable accommodation, and from denying employment opportunities based on the need to make a reasonable accommodation related to pregnancy, physical recovery from childbirth, or a related condition. The employer must also provide written notice to its employees of their rights under the new law within 120 days after the effective date (August 10, 2016).
An employer does have the right, however, to require an employee or applicant to provide a note stating the necessity of a reasonable accommodation from a licensed heath care provider before the employer provides the reasonable accommodation.
The Colorado Pregnancy Accommodation Law creates new liability for employers state-wide, and requires additional due diligence to remain compliant. It also leaves open many questions, such as “What is a condition related to pregnancy?” Employers should consult legal counsel for any questions they have to be sure they are in compliance with the new law.
DISCLAIMER: This article is intended to be informative and in no way is meant to be legal advice.