New Illinois Law Furthers Protection for Pregnant Women in the Workplace

On the first of the year, Illinois passed a law protecting the rights of pregnant women in the workplace. Signed on August 26, 2014 by then Governor Pat Quinn, Public Act 98-1050 is intended to contest the discrimination of pregnant women.

Public Act 98-1050 protects employees who are pregnant, have recently given birth or have a medical or common condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. The newly enacted law makes it a civil rights violation for an employer to refuse to hire, recruit, promote, apprentice, discipline, discharge, or fail to reinstate in an equivalent position and pay on the basis of pregnancy.

Under the law, reasonable accommodations must also be made, but must be requested by the employee. Once requested, the employer and employee must engage in a timely and meaningful discussion to determine reasonable accommodations, such as more frequent or longer bathroom breaks, assistance with manual labor, access to seating, a part-time modified work schedule, temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position, private space for breast feeding and time off to recover from pregnancy. In addition, employers must present an atmosphere where expectant mothers can continue working without fear for their health or the health of their child. Employers may also request documentation from the employee’s health care provider, but only for reasonable accommodations.

The law applies to any employer with one or more employees. For more information on Illinois’ Public Act 98-1050, visit the Illinois General Assembly website.

Read More: Employee relations can make or break the way your organization is viewed. Learn how to improve your company environment and employee communication by reading our blog post, 6 Ways to Ensure Effective Employee Relations.

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