It Is Now Legal to Be Both Pregnant and Employed in Philadelphia
Quietly, verrryy quietly, something big has happened in Philadelphia: City Hall made it illegal to fire or discriminate against anyone who happens to be pregnant — in fact, employers must make “reasonable” accommodations to help their pregnant workers thrive.
City Council approved the law in December; Mayor Nutter signed it January. And if there was any media coverage of it at the time, well, it can’t easily be found via Google or a search of the archives at the Inquirer and Daily News. We might not’ve even noticed, except that national employment law websites did know about the law and have been publicizing it in legal circles.
Before this amendment, employers’ obligations under city, state, and federal antidiscrimination laws only required them to treat employees with pregnancy-related issues no worse than any other disabled employee with respect to accommodations. Now employers are not only prohibited from denying or interfering with an individual’s employment opportunities on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, but employers also are required to make reasonable accommodations on these bases to an employee who requests it. The legislation’s non-exhaustive examples of reasonable accommodations include restroom breaks, periodic rest for those who stand for long periods of time, assistance with manual labor, leave for a period of disability arising from childbirth, reassignment to a vacant position, and job restructuring.
Employers can sidestep the requirements if they can demonstrate meeting them would cause “undue hardship,” but City Hall is pretty clearly signaling its expectations.
The law went into effect immediately when Nutter signed it. As of Sunday, though, Philly employers must post the poster above, so that workers can know about the protection.