Colorado Grants New Protection for Pregnant Women

Colorado Grants New Protection for Pregnant Women

New Law Applies to Both Employees & Applicants

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed legislation on June 1 that makes it an unfair employment practice if an employer fails to provide reasonable accommodations to a pregnant job applicant or an employee for conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth. The law goes into effect on Wednesday, August 10.

This new provision within the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) will require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant job applicants, or be subject to discrimination claims if the employer does not provide reasonable accommodation or otherwise discriminates against a person making such a request.

The new law (House Bill 16-1438) protects individuals with “conditions related to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related condition” without requiring that the conditions be disabling.  Employers are required to engage in timely, good-faith discussions to determine effective, reasonable accommodations and accommodate the individual unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship to the employer.

Reasonable accommodation includes:

  • more frequent or longer break periods
  • more frequent restroom, food, and water breaks
  • acquisition or modification of equipment or seating
  • limitation on lifting
  • temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position if available
  • job restructuring or light duty
  • assistance with manual labor; or
  • modified work schedules

The new law applies to employers with one or more employees, which pretty much covers every employer in Colorado.  The bill prohibits an employer from taking adverse action against an employee who requests or uses a pregnancy accommodation.

Employers are required to give new employees hired on or after August 10 notice of their rights under this provision of CADA at the start of employment. Current employees must receive written notice of this new law by December 8, 2016, and post a notice on the bulletin board where similar labor posters are located.

Employers need to develop an Action Plan to be fully compliant with this new law.  Look for revised labor posters that include this new law on the poster.  For the full text of this new law, visit: http://tornado.state.co.us/gov_dir/leg_dir/olls/sl2016a/sl_207.htm

Doing the right thing to achieve reasonable accommodation for your pregnant employees will help you maintain compliance going forward.