LEGAL ALERT: Connecticut Expands Protections for Pregnant Employees – Action Required

On October 1, 2017, Connecticut will enact a new law titled An Act Concerning Pregnant Women in the Workplace (the “Act”). The Act makes it an unlawful practice to discriminate against an employee or job applicant on the basis of her pregnancy in the terms or conditions of her employment or to limit, segregate, or classify a pregnant employee in a way that would deprive her of employment opportunities due to her pregnancy. In addition, the Act states that employers must provide reasonable accommodations to employees due to pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions, unless doing so would create an undue hardship on the employer. Further, pregnant employees can not be discriminated against because of a request for such accommodations.

Under the Act, reasonable accommodations include, but are not limited to: being permitted to sit while working, more frequent or longer breaks, periodic rest, assistance with manual labor, job restructuring, light duty assignments, modified work schedules, temporary transfers to less strenuous or hazardous work, time off to recover from childbirth or break time and providing appropriate facilities for expressing breast milk.

The Act requires that employers notify employees of an employee’s right to be free from discrimination in relation to pregnancy, childbirth and related  conditions, including the right to a reasonable accommodation to the known limitations related to pregnancy. Such notifications must occurs as follows: 1.) New employees must be notified at the commencement of employment, 2.) existing employees must be told within 120 days after October 1, 2017, and 3.) any employee who notifies the employer of her pregnancy must be notified within 10 days of the employer’s notification of the pregnancy. An employer can comply with these notice requirements  by displaying a poster that contains the information required by the Act in a conspicuous place, accessible to employees, in both English and Spanish.

What To Do Now:

  • Review and revise personnel policies to ensure compliance with the Act.
  • Review and revise hiring procedures to ensure compliance with the Act.
  • Train Human Resources personnel and supervisors on the requirements of the Act.
  • Institute a procedure that will allow for proper review and implementation of requests for reasonable  accommodations under the Act.
  • Post required notifications in a conspicuous location in the workplace or implement an alternative notice procedure compliant with the Act.

If you have questions about the information contained in this legal alert, please contact Pro Bono Partnership at 914-328-0674 for organizations located in Fairfield County or at 860-541-4950 for organizations located elsewhere in Connecticut.