New Mexico Passes Law Prohibiting Discrimination Against Employees Based on Pregnancy

New Mexico Discrimination is Against the Law Peel 'N PostEarlier this year, New Mexico lawmakers passed an amendment (HB 25) to the state’s Human Rights Act making it unlawful for employers, places of public accommodation, and housing providers, to discriminate against any person because of pregnancy, childbirth or related condition. The required New Mexico Discrimination is Against the Law workplace posting has been updated to reflect the new protections.


How is Pregnancy Protected in the Workplace?

In the context of employment, the law provides that an employer may not:

  • refuse to hire, discharge, promote or demote or discriminate in matters of compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment against an otherwise qualified employee or job applicant because of pregnancy, childbirth or related condition;
  • refuse or fail to make reasonable accommodation for an employee or job applicant with a need arising from pregnancy, childbirth, or related condition; or
  • require an employee with a need arising from pregnancy, childbirth or related condition to take paid or unpaid leave if another reasonable accommodation can be provided, unless the employee voluntarily requests leave.


What are reasonable accommodations?

Under the New Mexico Human Rights Act, “reasonable accommodation” means modification or adaptation of the work environment, work schedule, work rules or job responsibilities, and reached through good faith efforts to explore less restrictive or less expensive alternatives to enable an employee to perform the essential functions of the job and that does not impose an undue hardship on the employer.

Although, the Act does not give specific examples of pregnancy-related accommodations, the following accommodations are generally deemed reasonable:

  • more frequent or longer bathroom breaks
  • breaks to express breast milk
  • access to a private location other than a bathroom for the expression of breast milk
  • acquisition or modification of equipment or access to or modification of employee seating
  • a temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position
  • assistance with manual labor
  • job restructuring
  • modified work schedule
  • light duty assignments
  • leave to recover from childbirth


Facts About the New Mexico Human Rights Act

  • The Human Rights Act applies to New Mexico employers with four or more employees.
  • Other protected characteristics include race, age, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical or mental disability, or serious medical condition. If an employer has 50 or more employees, the Act also prohibits discrimination based on spousal affiliation.
  • The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions Human Rights Bureau investigates complaints of discrimination in employment. Complaints must be filed with the Human Rights Bureau within 300 days of the last act of discrimination.


Posting Compliance

New Mexico employers with four or more employees are required to post the current Discrimination is Against the Law posting in a conspicuous place on their premises. (NMSA § 28-1-14) Because of the recent amendment to the Human Rights Act, the Human Rights Bureau has added “Pregnancy, Childbirth or Related Condition” to the list of protected categories on the Discrimination is Against the Law posting.


How Can You Comply with the Posting Requirement?

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