On January 20, 2014, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter signed an amendment to the city’s Fair Practices Ordinance expressly banning discrimination based upon pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition and imposing new workplace accommodation requirements on Philadelphia employers. The amendment places Philadelphia among a growing number of jurisdictions that require employers to provide workplace accommodations to employees who are “affected by pregnancy,” regardless of whether those employees are “disabled.” (See our prior alerts for details on new requirements enacted in Philadelphia and New Jersey.)
The new law requires that Philadelphia employers provide written notice to all employees by April 20, 2014, and to all new hires going forward. On April 1, 2014, the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations issued the required notice, which reiterates the rights of pregnant employees in the workplace. The notice must be posted conspicuously in an area accessible to employees.
For employers with operations in Philadelphia, the amendment may require revisions to employee handbooks and training of appropriate staff in this area. Employers should pay close attention to their reasonable accommodation policies and whether their human resources professionals have sufficient training to engage in the interactive process triggered for employees affected by pregnancy, and recognize when accommodations must be granted for such employees.