It just became a bit easier to be a pregnant woman in Nevada, a sign of times that increasingly require recognition of gender-based entitlement in the workplace. As employers fully embrace the 21st Century, their responsibilities are now a bit more commensurate with the needs of workers whose obligations do not stop at their office doors. Nevada Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act—product of Senate Bill 253—aims to streamline protections for expectant mothers among employers with no fewer than 15 employees.
Though legitimate occupational requirements may allow alternative negotiation of the circumstances, midsize (and larger) employers are generally prohibited from a range of activities that could be interpreted as disadvantaging pregnant employees. There are, however, some exemptions for licensed contractors.
Employers as yet unfamiliar with the new law may wish to consult with legal counsel in a bid to better determine and clarify appropriate options for implementation. Failure to fully understand implications of SB 253 could prove costly. In the meantime, grasping the basic elements of the law can assure you know what questions to ask amid consultation.
What SB 253 Means for Employers
Some of these procedures may be nothing new to employers who have long emphasized a responsibility toward the interests of families amid their employ. That said, a new law is always cause for reassessing policy. For example, qualifying employers must now make reasonable accommodations as per requests relating to conditions associated with pregnancy or related medical conditions, so long as said measures do not impose undue hardship on the company itself.
Employers are also prohibited from taking adverse action against an employee that otherwise (and reasonably) avails herself of said accommodations. Said actions could include a transfer or failure to reinstate said employee, so doing anything the employee finds untoward may incur risk. Accommodations cannot serve as basis for denial of employment opportunities. These accommodations are, however, subject to the consensual enjoyment of the employee and cannot be coerced. Finally, amid availability of legitimate accommodations, a pregnant employee cannot be asked to leave work.
Conditions requisite of accommodation are those that inhere to the physical or mental fact of pregnancy, including expression of breast milk or other related medical conditions. Employers who remain uncertain of the rights afforded by SB 253 should consult an attorney rather than risk a legally compromising situation.
Per The National Law Review, “Examples of reasonable accommodations include: (1) modifying equipment or providing different seating; (2) revising break schedules (as to frequency or duration); (3) providing a space in an area other than a bathroom that might be used for expressing breast milk; (4) providing assistance with manual labor if the manual labor is incidental to the primary work duties of the employee; (5) authorizing light duty; (6) temporarily transferring the employee to a less strenuous or hazardous position; or (7) restructuring a position or providing a modified work schedule.”
With the Act becoming enforceable law on October 1, 2017, employers also must post notice in a visible place and inform new employees accordingly. Said notice should clarify relevant rights with respect to accommodation.
Remaining on the Right Side of SB 253
Running afoul of employment law can be costly, time consuming, embarrassing, and a source of damaging litigation. In a bid to assure you remain on the right side of new laws, initial legal consult may be helpful. Should you find yourself subject to accusations, representation becomes essential. A law firm with national pedigree and strong familiarity with Nevada law is a requirement. HKM Employment Attorneys assures the perfect combination of commitment, professionalism and business expertise. Contact our Las Vegas office at 1.702.625.3893 or fill out our online form located here.