By KAREN MICHAEL Special Envoy
Employers in Virginia are now required to provide reasonable accommodations for known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, including breastfeeding.
Companies employing five or more workers must comply with the law, which came into effect on July 1.
The law protects pregnant workers and nursing accommodation after pregnancy.
The law requires reasonable accommodation unless the employer can demonstrate that the accommodation would impose undue hardship on the business.
Reasonable accommodation may include “more frequent or longer toilet breaks, breaks for expressing breast milk, access to a private area other than a bathroom for expressing breast milk, or acquiring or dispensing breast milk. modification of equipment or access to or modification of employee seats, a transfer to a less strenuous or dangerous position, help with manual work, work restructuring, a modified work schedule, light tasks and a leave to recover from childbirth.
In determining whether an accommodation would impose undue hardship, employers should consider:
- difficulties in the conduct of the employer’s business, taking into account the nature of the operation, including the composition and structure of its workforce;
- the size of the facility where the job is located; and
- the nature and cost of the accommodation required.