During the 2019 legislative session, Governor Janet Mills signed HB 487, extending protections for pregnant and nursing employees in the state of Maine. Under the law, which goes into effect September 19, 2019, employers must provide reasonable accommodations for pregnancy-related conditions. Pregnancy-related condition is defined in the new law as “a known limitation of an employee’s ability to perform the functions of a job due to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, including but not limited to lactation.” Reasonable accommodations include, but are not limited to:
- more frequent or longer breaks;
- temporary modification in work schedules;
- seating or equipment;
- temporary relief from lifting requirements;
- temporary transfer to less strenuous or hazardous work; and
- provisions for lactation.
It is unlawful employment discrimination for an employer, employment agency or labor organization to fail upon request to provide a reasonable accommodation to any employee with a pregnancy-related condition, unless the accommodation causes an undue hardship on the operation of the business. Employers, for example, would need to consider the nature and cost of the accommodation, the overall financial resources, the overall size of the business with respect to the number of employees, and the number, type and location of its facilities, and the effect on expenses and resources.
It is likely that the optional Workplaces Supporting Working Moms Poster, which can be downloaded from our Free Labor Law Compliance Postings webpage, will be updated with the new protections. Once the poster is revised, we will make it available here. Stay tuned!