Pregnant and Nursing Workers Protections

In the final days of 2022, President Biden signed into law a landmark workers’ rights bill: the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), which clarifies employers’ obligations to provide needed “accommodations” to pregnant workers. Modeled on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), PWFA has enormous potential to ensure that pregnant workers won’t have to choose between their health and their jobs.

The ACLU and the Center for WorkLife Law are partnering with NELA to assist attorneys in utilizing PWFA to achieve the accommodations their clients need and—when litigation is necessary—to obtain positive results by producing a series of training briefings.

Webinar 1: An Introduction to the
Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA)

The introductory webinar introduced practitioners to the basics of PWFA and how it alters the federal civil rights landscape for pregnant workers. Topics covered:

  • Provide an overview of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and the opportunities created by its passage;
  • Explain the physical needs of pregnant, postpartum, and lactating workers, with emphasis on what constitutes “reasonable” accommodation for employees and an “undue hardship” for employers;
  • Share best practices for counseling workers engaging in the “interactive process” to obtain needed reasonable accommodations; and
  • Introduce the protections afforded by the Providing Urgent Maternal Protection (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act, also just signed into law, which expands existing federal protections for new parents who need to pump at work

Webinar 2: An Introduction to the
Providing Urgent Maternal Protection (PUMP)
for Nursing Mothers Act

In the second in our series on historic new legal protections for pregnant, postpartum, and lactating workers, our experts covered:

  • An Introduction of the PUMP Act and the most important takeaways from the Department of Labor’s new guidance on the law;
  • The health needs of breastfeeding, chestfeeding, and pumping workers;
  • Best practices for counseling lactating workers; and
  • The intersection of the PUMP Act with other laws like the newly-passed Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

Webinar 3: PWFA—Beyond the Basics

The next webinar in our series assumes basic familiarity with the content introduced in the PWFA Introductory Webinar and will take a deeper dive into how to support clients making accommodation requests, including preserving the elements of their legal claims. Presenters will:

  • Provide an overview of the pregnancy-related conditions that are entitled to accommodation, including abortion, menstruation, lactation, and infertility;
  • Identify accommodations that may be available under PWFA, including childbirth leave and remote work;
  • Introduce the emerging legal standard for temporarily excusing essential job functions;
  • Give practical tips on supporting clients requesting accommodations and navigating the interactive process;
  • Share best practices for identifying and responding to retaliation; and
  • Highlight key insights from the EEOC’s proposed PWFA regulations, to be finalized by December 2023, and answer questions.

Series Speakers

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Cynthia Thomas Calvert

Senior Advisor, Center for WorkLife Law
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Aditi Fruitwala

Staff Attorney, ACLU Center for Liberty
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Jessica Lee

Senior Staff Attorney, Center for WorkLife Law
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Vania Leveille

Senior Legislative Counsel, ACLU
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Jennifer Liu

Katz Banks Kumin
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Liz Morris

Deputy Director, Center for WorkLife Law
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Gillian Thomas

Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Women's Rights Project

Moderator

Ashley O. WestbyAshley O. Westby is a Colorado native, and the daughter of two blue collar workers who taught her the importance of workers’ rights. Ashley received her B.A. magna cum laude in Political Science from The George Washington University, and her J.D. cum laude from The American University, Washington College of Law.