Requesting Pregnancy Accommodations

Introduction:

The Protecting Pregnant Worker Fairness Act (“PPW”) requires DC employers to provide reasonable workplace accommodations for employees whose ability to perform job duties is limited because of pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or a related medical condition.

Procedures:

An employee may request an accommodation because of pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or a related medical condition.  Additionally, once a supervisor, director, or chair has been informed by an employee of her pregnancy or other condition covered by the PPW,  the employee should receive a notice of her rights under PPW and may be referred to IDEAA for a possible accommodation if requested by the employee.

Employees seeking a pregnancy accommodation are to complete a Pregnancy  Accommodation Request Form noting the requested reasonable accommodation.  Some examples include:   

  • More frequent or longer breaks
  • Time to recover from childbirth
  • Purchasing or modifying work equipment
  • Temporarily transferring the employee to a less strenuous or hazardous position
  • Temporarily restructuring the employee’s position to provide light duty or a modified work schedule
  • Permitting the employee to refrain from heavy lifting
  • Relocating the employee’s work area
  • Providing private (non-bathroom) space for expressing breast milk

A  “reasonable accommodation” is one that does not require significant difficulty in the operation of the employer’s business or significant expense for the employer, with consideration to factors such as the size of the business, its financial resources, and the nature and structure of the business.

Interactive Process

The interactive process is required when an employee requests a reasonable pregnancy accommodation or otherwise has a known limitation that requires one.
  
The University will engage the employee and the employee’s department in good faith and in a timely manner in the interactive process to determine what accommodation is appropriate. 

Note:  No specific accommodation is guaranteed.  Rather, accommodations are determined on an individualized basis and must be tailored to match the needs of the employee without placing an undue hardship on the department.

Note: Neither IDEAA nor the relevant department shall provide an accommodation unless an employee asks for one or otherwise has a known limitation and no employee shall be required to accept an accommodation that is not necessary for the employee to perform her duties. No employee shall be placed on leave if another reasonable accommodation can be provided.

In making this determination, IDEAA, in conjunction with the appropriate departmental supervisor or official, may consider a number of relevant factors, including: 

  • The nature and duration of the requested accommodation.
  • The impact of the requested accommodation on the performance of the employee’s essential functions or core work-related duties.
  • The financial impact of the requested accommodation.
  • The impact of the requested accommodation on other employees, students, or university operations.  Note that this may include consideration of seniority within the same unit or department.
  • Any alternative accommodations. 

IDEAA may require an employee to provide certification from a health care provider indicating a reasonable accommodation is advisable. The certification must include:

The date the accommodation became or will become medically advisable;
An explanation of the medical condition and need for a reasonable accommodation;
The probable length of time the accommodation should be provided.

Once IDEAA has secured the certification, it will engage the department in the interactive process to inform them of the type and duration of the accommodation.
If no reasonable accommodation can be made, the employee is notified in writing.

Work Plan

If a pregnancy accommodation is deemed appropriate and reasonable, both the employee and the departmental representative are notified and the pregnancy accommodation work plan is implemented for the duration specified.

IDEAA will monitor the work plan and review it on occasion to ensure the accommodation enables the employee to complete the necessary work tasks and to ensure effectiveness.