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 http://www.lni.wa.gov/Main/SmallBusiness/.
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.