Reasonable accommodations for new and expectant mothers

| Oct 11, 2019 | Firm News |

If you are the head of a business organization, you likely know how unpredictable your daily tasks can be. Not only must you attract and retain top talent, but you also must think of new ways to continue to meet customer expectations. If you run afoul of anti-discrimination laws related to pregnancy, though, you may be unable to accomplish either objective.

In 2016, the Colorado General Assembly modified the state’s Anti-Discrimination Act to include protections for pregnant women and new mothers. While the law is robust, part of it requires employers to engage in an interactive process with pregnant employees and new moms to determine if reasonable workplace accommodations are necessary. Here are some accommodations that Colorado law tends to treat as reasonable.

  1. Reworked breaktimes

As you likely know, your pregnant employees and those with new babies often require additional breaktime to accomplish a variety of activities. As such, you may need to provide affected employees with longer or more frequent breaks. You may also need to change breaktimes altogether.

  1. Modified equipment

You likely do not have to rearrange your entire assembly line to accommodate a pregnant woman or new mother. You may, however, need to provide more comfortable seating, a different desk or other items to facilitate job success.

  1. Changed job duties

Heavy lifting is a concern during pregnancy and in the months after childbirth. The same may be true for long periods of sitting or standing. If your employee’s pregnancy requires temporary modification of job duties, you likely want to explore options for keeping your worker safe and comfortable during and after pregnancy.

  1. Altered work schedules

You may also have to have some flexibility with work schedules for pregnant women and new mothers. That is, you may have to provide additional time away from the jobsite. Or, you may need to allow your employee to work different hours.

Remember, the law requires you to engage with your employee to determine if workplace accommodations are necessary during and after pregnancy. While the above list is far from exhaustive, it should give you an idea of the sort of accommodations that Colorado law often considers reasonable for pregnant employees and new mothers.