new jersey pregnancy accommodation

New Jersey Pregnancy Accommodation

By Thomas McKinney

New Jersey and other states have recognized that pregnant women can be particularly vulnerable to discriminatory actions in the workplace. In order to help protect pregnant workers from such discrimination, states like New Jersey have enacted legislation aimed at protecting pregnant workers. For instance, many such laws mandate that employers must provide pregnant workers with reasonable accommodations. What, however, does a reasonable accommodation mean? Let’s take a closer look at it here.

What Is a “Reasonable Accommodation” for Pregnancy?

Under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), employers are required to grant employees reasonable accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions. Reasonable accommodations must also be made for those employees who are breastfeeding. The hope is that, with reasonable accommodations, impacted workers will be able to continue to work while maintaining a healthy pregnancy and postpartum work life. While the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act provides similar protections, the New Jersey LAD is actually even more expansive in some regards.

Employers must grant pregnant workers reasonable workplace accommodations that have been recommended by the employee’s doctor. Reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers may include things like:

  • Bathroom and rest breaks
  • Water breaks
  • Modified work schedules
  • Assistance with manual labor

Another kind of reasonable accommodation for a pregnant worker may also involve temporarily transferring the employee to a less strenuous job role or task. The worker may also need to avoid certain types of hazardous work as well. Furthermore, breastfeeding employees must also be provided with reasonable accommodations. New Jersey employers are also required to grant breastfeeding employees reasonable break times to express milk as well as a suitable private place where milk may be expressed. The private area must be someplace other than a toilet stall.

These accommodations must be put in place by the employer unless the employer can show that providing the accommodation would place an undue hardship on business operations. What does that mean? Well, whether or not an accommodation would be considered an undue hardship for a business will be a fact-specific analysis. Factors that may be considered in such a determination could include things like:

  • The business’s employee count
  • The business’s budget
  • The size of business facilities
  • The nature of the accommodation needed
  • The cost of the accommodation needed
  • How much of the accommodation would necessitate the forfeit of an essential requirement of the employee’s responsibilities

New Jersey employers must provide pregnancy accommodations unless they can show an undue hardship would be caused by providing such accommodations. Furthermore, employers in the state are not allowed to penalize an employee or retaliate against an employee in any way for requesting or making use of a pregnancy or breastfeeding accommodation.

New Jersey Employment Law Attorneys

Have you been denied pregnancy accommodations by your New Jersey employer? If so, you may be entitled to certain legal remedies. Talk to the dedicated team of employment law attorneys at Castronovo & McKinney about your options. Contact us today.

About the Author
Tom McKinney is an experienced NJ Employment Lawyer in all major areas of labor and employment law, including discrimination, harassment, overtime violations, wage and hour claims, sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, Title VII, ADA, ADEA, FMLA, LAD, FLSA, and all other employment law claims. Tom is admitted to practice in the States of New Jersey and New York, United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Southern District of New York, District of New Jersey, and United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Prior to forming the firm, Tom practiced at Gibbons P.C. in Newark, NJ. If you have any questions regarding this article, contact Tom here today.