By Eric J. Uhl/July 15, 2019
On June 28, 2019, Governor Janet Mills signed a new law amending the Maine Human Rights Act to extend protections for pregnant employees. The new law, called “An Act to Protect Pregnant Workers,” requires Maine employers to provide reasonable accommodations for an employee’s “pregnancy-related condition,” which is defined to mean a limitation on the employee’s ability to perform the functions of a job due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, including lactation. Under the new law, reasonable accommodations for a pregnancy-related condition include, but are not limited to, more frequent or longer breaks; temporary modifications in work schedules, seating or equipment; temporary relief from lifting requirements; temporary transfer to less strenuous or hazardous work; and provisions for lactation as required by existing law. An employer must provide the reasonable accommodation unless the employer can demonstrate that the proposed accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the business. These new protections are in addition to the existing protections prohibiting employers from discriminating against pregnant employees. The new law takes effect on September 18, 2019.
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