Philadelphia has joined New York City and New Jersey, who recently passed new laws protecting pregnant employees. (See our September 25, 2013 and January 27, 2014 posts for details about those laws).

21246717_sOn January 20, 2014, Mayor Nutter  signed into a law Bill No. 130687, an ordinance amending the local law against discrimination and adding “pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition” as a protected class.  The ordinance specifically requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees that do not cause an undue hardship.   

 Accommodations may include rest room breaks, periodic rest, assistance with manual labor, reassignment to a vacant position, and job restructuring.  The Ordinance also says that leave may be a reasonable accommodation.  In order to determine whether a requested accommodation creates an undue hardship, employers must use analysis similar to that done under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Specifically, employers must take into consideration, the number of employees at the facility, the effect on expenses and resources or the impact on the operations of the employer. 

The Ordinance is effective now.  There is a posting requirement that requires employers to post a notice of rights by April 20, 2014.  The Philadelphia Commission on Human Rights will be developing the poster.