Pregnancy Accommodation Law

Passed in Illinois


One of first such State Laws


            Governor Quinn just signed into law an amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act (“HRA”), the “Pregnancy Protection Act.”  Here are highlights:

 1.      Adds pregnancy as a protected class under the HRA.

 2.      Defined as “pregnancy, childbirth, or medical or common conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.”

 3.      Adopts the “one or more” definition of “employer” under 2-101(B)(1)(b) so that an employer is any person employing one or more employees.

 4.      Adds extensive text under the HRA for an employer’s duty to provide reasonable accommodations, for which undue hardship can be a possible defense.  The measures expected of an employer for purposes of hiring or accommodating an existing employee are:

------------> ·         more frequent or longer bathroom breaks, breaks for increased water intake, and breaks for periodic rest;

·         private non-bathroom space for expressing breast milk and breastfeeding;

·         seating;

·         assistance with manual labor;

·         light duty;

·         temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position;

·         the provision of an accessible worksite;

·         the acquisition or modification of equipment;

·         job restructuring;

·         a part-time or modified work schedule;

·         appropriate adjustment of examinations, materials, or policies;

·         time off to recover from conditions related to childbirth; and

·         leave necessitated by pregnancy, childbirth, or medical or common conditions resulting from pregnancy or childbirth.

      5.     Requires that employers post a notice of rights under this law, including the key points of the law and information about filing a charge with the Department of Human Rights where the applicant or individual has the belief that she is being discriminated or retaliated against.  The DHR will be issuing a notice with the required language, and the text of the new law strongly suggests that employers should use this one.