Pittsburgh employers should be aware that the City Council just passed a new ordinance expanding protections for pregnant employees. The ordinance will impact private employers with requirements similar to Federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act, Americans with Disabilities act and other related EEOC guidance.
In an unprecedented move, Pittsburgh’s ordinance is one of the first cities to extend protections for partners of pregnant women. Partner is defined broadly to mean a person of any gender with whom a pregnant woman has a relationship of mutual emotional and/or physical support (and does not require a marital or domestic relationship).
The new ordinance amends section 659.02 of Article V, Chapter 659 of the Pittsburgh City Code, providing further protections by making pregnancy its own protected class. Additionally, it extends the laws anti-discrimination provisions to partners of pregnant employees.
If a Pittsburgh employer fails to reasonably accommodate a pregnant employee under the new ordinance, they may be liable unless they can prove undue hardship. The ordinance lists examples of reasonable accommodations to include schedule modifications, granting of leaves, modified duties and job requirements.
The ordinance requires employers to engage in the interactive process with pregnant employees when issues arise with work performance or conduct at work related to their or a partner’s pregnancy, childbirth or related medical condition, even if the employee never ask for an accommodation. Furthermore, the ordinance limits when employers may request medical documentation from pregnant workers and prohibits retaliation against those employees who seek reasonable accommodation under the new law.
It is recommended that all Pittsburgh employers review their policies to verify they are in compliance with the new law and also provide any necessary training to managers and supervisors.