As of May 20, 2020, if you are working while pregnant, recovering from childbirth, or have a related condition, you don’t have to choose between your health and your job. New Mexico law now gives you an explicit right to reasonable pregnancy accommodations at work, so you can stay healthy and safe while continuing to earn a paycheck to support your family.
What does the New Mexico Pregnant Worker Accommodation Act (NM PWA) do?
- The NM PWA protects pregnant employees and those who have recently given birth from discrimination in the workplace. Employers must allow employees with limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or a condition related to pregnancy or childbirth to make changes to their work duties or schedule so they can stay healthy and on the job.
- These changes are called “reasonable accommodations” and may include a modification or adaptation of the work environment, work schedule, work rules, or job responsibilities.
Am I covered?
- If you are pregnant, recovering from childbirth, or have a condition related to pregnancy or childbirth, and you work for a New Mexico employer that has 4 or more employees, then you are covered.
What are my rights?
- You are entitled to reasonable accommodations 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 a modification or adaptation of your work environment, work schedule, work rules, or job responsibilities (e.g. help with heavy lifting, light duty, occasional breaks to rest and drink water, and others). Your employer should engage with you in good faith to try and determine a reasonable accommodation, though can explore less restrictive or less expensive alternative accommodations to enable you to perform the essential functions of your job and that also don’t impose an undue hardship on their business.
- You cannot be required to take paid or unpaid leave from work if a reasonable accommodation can be provided to keep you healthy and on the job unless you voluntarily request to be placed on leave or you are placed on leave pursuant to federal law.
Do I have to be disabled to get an accommodation?
- 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.
Need help or 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, or contact the New Mexico Human Rights Commission.