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EEOC Publishes Final Rule to Implement the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA)

April 25, 2024

On April 15, 2024, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its final rule to implement the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) and the rule was published in the Federal Register on April 19, 2024. The rule goes into effect on June 18, 2024 and applies to most private and public employers.

Here’s what employers need to know about the new regulation:

  • The PWFA and regulations require employers to engage in an interactive process with and provide reasonable job accommodations to qualified employees with a known limitation related to, affected by or arising out of a pregnancy, which prevents the employee from performing one or more essential functions of their job without reasonable accommodation;
  • A childbirth or related medical condition is known when the employee (or their representative) has communicated the condition to the employer, and includes any physical or mental condition, whether minor or episodic, related to maintaining the mother’s health or the health of the pregnancy or seeking health care related to pregnancy, birth or the condition;
  • Employers are not required to seek supporting medical documentation before granting an accommodation, and if they do seek documentation, the employee must be given sufficient time to obtain only reasonable documentation which confirms the existance of a qualifying condition and describes the change at work needed due to the limitation;
  • An accommodation may be required whether or not the limitation would qualify as a disability under the ADA and even when the limitation is only temporary or the affected essential functions could be performed in the near future;
  • The rule identifies several examples of reasonable accommodations, including frequent breaks, telework, light duty, job restructuring, and adjusting or modifiying policies, among others;
  • Employers are not required to provide an accommodation that would result in undue hardship to the employer, meaning significant difficulty or expense for the employer’s operations; and
  • The rule prohibits retaliation against or coercion of an employee or applicant for requesting an accommodation or opposing unlawful practices that violate the PWFA. Such retaliation can include failing to provide interim accommodations, seeking documentation when doing so is prohibited under the PWFA or final rule, or disclosing the employee’s confidential medical information.

The EEOC has posted a complete summary of the PWFA and final rule’s key provisions here.  

Employers are encouraged to update their accommodation policies and to provide training to managers and HR as to the new rule and the PWFA’s requirements.

For additional advice and guidance on implementing the rule in your workplace please contact the Walter Haverfield Labor & Employment Services Group.

Jessica L. MacKeigan is senior counsel at Walter Haverfield who frequently represents employers in labor law and employment matters. She can be reached at or 216.928.2928.

Mark S. Fusco is a partner and the Chair of the Walter Haverfield Litigation Group. He can be reached at or 216.619.7839.