In 2017, the Legislature passed a new law providing specific civil rights protections for pregnant employees. If a pregnant employee works for an employer with 15 employees or more, she has the right to the following accommodations:

  • Providing frequent, longer or flexible restroom breaks;
  • Modifying a no food or drink policy;
  • Providing seating or allowing the employee to sit more frequently; and
  • Limiting lifting to 17 pounds or less.

Employers may not ask for written certification from a healthcare professional for the accommodations above.

In addition, a pregnant employee may have rights to other workplace accommodation(s) if there is no significant difficulty or expense to the employer. These are:

  • Job restructuring, including modifying a work schedule, job reassignment, changing a work station or providing equipment;
  • Providing a temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position;
  • Scheduling flexibility for prenatal visits;
  • Providing any further accommodations, the employee may need.

Employers may request written certification from a health care professional regarding the need for these accommodations, or for restrictions on lifting less than 17 pounds.

To request information or to file a complaint about pregnancy and work place accommodations contact the Attorney General’s Office or call 833-389-2427.

If you have any further questions about this topic or others, see the Department of Labor & Industries’ Help for Small Business page at


Rev. 1/8/18


This article is an excerpt from the Handbook for Excellent Restaurant Operations (HERO), published by the Washington Hospitality Association.  Want a hard copy of the whole manual?  It’s one of the many benefits of becoming a member!  Find out more about joining the Washinton Hospitality Association here.

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