Nev. Pregnancy Accommodations: What Employers Should Know

Law360, July 10, 2017

During the 2017 legislative session, the Nevada Legislature enacted the Nevada Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act. The notice provisions of the act were effective as of June 2, 2017, while the other substantive provisions of the law will not become effective until Oct. 1, 2017. While this might appear on the surface to be something that only Nevada-based employers should be aware of, this law applies to any employer with 15 or more employees in Nevada. Therefore, it is important for national companies who have a Nevada presence or are considering expansion into the state to be up to speed on the provisions of this legislation.

Effective now, Nevada employers are required to provide written or electronic notice to employees of their right to be free from discriminatory or unlawful employment practices pursuant to NRS 613.335 and the Nevada Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act, and that female employees have the right to a reasonable accommodation for a condition of the employee relating to pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition. Employers must provide this notice at three separate junctures. First, the notice must be provided to all new employees. Second, it must be posted in a conspicuous place that is available to all employees. Third, the notice must again be provided to any pregnant employee within 10 days of her notifying her immediate supervisor of her pregnancy. Because of the short deadline for notification of any pregnant employee, it is critical that supervisors are educated so that the employee is notified within that 10-day window.

Effective Oct. 1, 2017, the act will provide employees and applicants with the right to a reasonable accommodation for a condition relating to pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition, and the right to be free from discriminatory or unlawful employment practices based upon the employee’s request for or use of a reasonable accommodation.

The act defines covered conditions to include any physical or mental condition related to pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition, including (1) nursing, (2) recovering from pregnancy or childbirth, (3) post-partum depression, and (4) loss or end of pregnancy and recovery therefrom.

Example accommodations include: (1) modified equipment or seating; (2) revised break schedules; (3) nonbathroom private space for nursing mothers to express breast milk; (4) assistance with manual labor if manual labor is not among the employee’s primary work duties; (5) light duty authorization; (6) transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position; and (7) a restructured position or modified work schedule. For applicants, it may be necessary to modify the application process or the manner in which things are customarily carried out in order to afford the applicant a full opportunity for employment.

This legislation should sound familiar to employers. This is because the act institutes a framework which is similar to the Americans with Disabilities Act. For example, if an employee requests an accommodation, the act explicitly requires the employer to undergo a good-faith interactive process to determine an effective, reasonable accommodation for the employee. Similarly, an employer may request an explanation from the employee’s physician concerning the physician’s specific accommodation recommendation.

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