Governor Baker Signs the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

On Thursday, July 27, 2017, Governor Baker signed into law the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (“MPWFA”). The MPWFA modifies Massachusetts General Laws c. 151B, which is the anti-discrimination law applicable to employers of 6 or more persons, the Commonwealth, and all political subdivisions, boards, departments and commissions of the Commonwealth.

Among other things, the MPWFA makes it unlawful for an employer to: (1) deny reasonable accommodation to an employee for the employee’s pregnancy or any pregnancy-related conditions, (2) take adverse action against an employee for requesting or using such reasonable accommodation, (3) deny an employment opportunity to an employee based on the need for the reasonable accommodation, (4) require an employee affected by pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition to make an accommodation that is unnecessary to perform the essential functions of the employee’s job, or (5) knowingly refuse to hire a pregnant person because of the pregnancy or pregnancy-related condition. 

On or before January 1, 2018, employers must provide written notice to existing employees of their right to be free from discrimination because of the employee’s pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions. However, an employee who notifies an employer of a pregnancy or pregnancy-related condition must receive such notice within 10 days of the employee’s notification. New employees must receive such notice at the commencement of their employment.

For additional information, contact Sherry Vaughn.