Congress passed two new laws aimed at protecting expecting and nursing mothers as part of the massive omnibus budget legislation that was enacted at the end of 2022.
This follows the adoption of similar legislation at the state and local levels for workers in California, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, New York, Tennessee and Washington State. The new federal laws defer to these state laws where their terms are stricter.
Both of the federal laws allow salaried employees to request workplace accommodations and expand the kinds the remedies available when employees are found to be in violation of the laws’ requirements.
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act extends the same protections available under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act to those workers who are pregnant.
Years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that pregnancy did not come under the ADA because it could not be considered a physical disability.
The Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (PUMP) Act expands protections for new mothers who are nursing their infants or are expressing breast milk.
The PUMP Act about such things as where employees are located and the policies, practices and the private space provided to express breast milk. Even if an employer has done this, some modifications may be required under the new law.
A space temporarily created or converted for expressing breast milk is likely to be considered sufficient if the space is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public.