As of August 1, 2021, if you are working while pregnant, recovering from childbirth, need to express milk at work, or have other pregnancy-related needs you don’t have to choose between your health and your job. Louisiana law now gives you an explicit right to reasonable pregnancy accommodations at work as long as they do not pose an “undue hardship” on your employer, so you can stay healthy and safe while continuing to earn a paycheck to support your family.
What does the Louisiana Pregnancy Accommodations law do?
- This law protects pregnant employees and those who have recently given birth from discrimination in the workplace. Employers must allow employees with medical needs causing limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition to make changes to their work duties or schedule so they can stay healthy and on the job. These changes are called “reasonable accommodations.”
Am I covered?
- If you have a known limitation that arises from pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, including lactation or the need to express breast milk, and you work for a Louisiana employer that has more than 25 employees, then you are covered.
What are my rights?
- You are entitled to necessary reasonable accommodations if you have medical needs that cause limitations arising from pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, when you request them, as long as the accommodations would not impose an “undue hardship” on your employer, meaning they would be very difficult or expensive to provide.
- Reasonable accommodations could include:
- Making existing facilities readily accessible and usable
- More frequent or longer break periods, which may be compensated, including bathroom breaks
- A private place, other than a bathroom, to express breast milk
- Modifying food or drink policy to allow access to water bottle or snacks, for example
- Seating or allowing employees to sit when their job requires them to stand
- Limits or assistance with heavy lifting
- Temporarily transferring an employee to a less strenuous or hazardous position
- Providing job restructuring or light duty
- Modifying work schedule
- Acquiring or modifying equipment or devices to allow employees to perform essential job functions.
- Other accommodations
- Your employer cannot force you to take leave from work if a reasonable accommodation can be provided to keep you healthy and on the job. Your employer also cannot punish you for requesting accommodations.
- Your employer must work together with you to figure out the right accommodations to meet your needs.
Do I have to be disabled to get an accommodation?
- No. Even an employee with a healthy pregnancy can receive a reasonable accommodation if needed, such as light duty or access to a water bottle to prevent health problems before they begin.
If you have questions, call A Better Balance’s free, confidential legal helpline at 1-833-NEED-ABB (1-833-633-3222) to speak with an attorney about your workplace rights around pregnancy and family care.