An Expansion of Colorado's Anti-Discrimination Act: Pregnant Workers

Effective August 10, 2016, Colorado began enforcing C.R.S. §24-34-402.3: the Pregnant Worker’s Fairness Act. Under this Act, Colorado employers must provide a reasonable accommodation to employees who are pregnant, or who are recovering from childbirth. Notably, the Pregnant Worker's Fairness act applies to all employers, even those with only one employee, unlike the ADA which only applies to businesses with 15 or more employees.

Specifically, the Act provides that employers engage in a "timely, good-faith, and interactive process" with employees experiencing “health conditions related to pregnancy or the physical recovery from childbirth” to determine effective reasonable accommodations. Reasonable accommodations that may be covered under the Act include: (1) transfer to a light duty position (if available); (2) longer or more frequent breaks; (3) modified work schedules; and (4) alternate seating arrangements while on the job.

As with the ADA, employers are only expected to provide reasonable accommodations if such accommodations do not impose an undue hardship. Undue hardship is defined as "an action requiring significant difficulty or expense to the employer."

Employers may not retaliate against employees who request or use a reasonable accommodation related to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related condition.

Required Actions for Employers:

  • No later than December 8, 2016, provide current employees with written notice of their new rights under the Act and ensure it is properly posted in the work place. 
  • Ensure HR staff is familiar with the Act and its applicability to single-employee employers.

Employers should conduct periodic reviews of procedures to ensure compliance with this Act and other accommodations required under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act. Should you need any assistance with this or other employment-related issues, please contact WSHB.

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