Effective January 1, 2020, Oregon employers with six or more employees must provide reasonable accommodations to employees and job applicants who have limitations related to pregnancy, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship.

The Employer Accommodation for Pregnancy Act amends Oregon’s civil rights code and its mandate extends to medical conditions related to pregnancy, including childbirth and lactation. The Act also expands the protections against pregnancy-related discrimination by prohibiting an employer from:

Denying employment to an applicant based upon the need to make a reasonable accommodation;

Taking adverse action against an employee for inquiring about, requesting, or using a reasonable accommodation;

Requiring an employee to accept unnecessary reasonable accommodations; or

Using leave provided under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) instead of a reasonable accommodation.

Under the Act, an accommodation would be considered an undue hardship if it requires “significant difficulty or expense.” To determine if significant difficulty or expense exists, an employer must consider the nature and cost of the accommodation, the financial resources and size of the facility providing the accommodation, the financial resources and size of the employer, and the type of operations conducted by the employer.

Accommodations

The Act provides examples of reasonable accommodations an employer may have to provide to an employee who is limited due to pregnancy, related medical conditions, childbirth, or lactation. Possible accommodations include:

Acquisition or modification of equipment or devices;

More frequent or longer break periods or periodic rest;

Assistance with manual labor; or

Modification of work schedules or job assignments.

Notice and Posting Requirements

Employers must provide a written notification of the Employer Accommodation for Pregnancy Act to new hires at the time of hire and within 180 days of the Act’s effective date to all existing employees. Written notification also must be provided within 10 days to an employee who has informed her employer of a pregnancy.

Employers must post signs in a conspicuous and accessible location on their premises informing their employees of the protections under the Act.

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This information is provided as a courtesy, may change, and is not intended as legal or tax guidance. Employers with questions or concerns outside the scope of a Payroll Service Provider are encouraged to seek the advice of a qualified CPA, Tax Attorney or Advisor.