On September 9, 2014, Delaware joined a number of other states, enacting legislation to require reasonable accommodation of pregnancy, not just pregnancy disability. Accommodations that would pose an undue hardship are not required. The new law takes effect immediately.
The Delaware law is notable because it expressly refers to lactation as being a pregnancy-related condition that must be reasonably accommodated. The law thus explicitly expands protections for nursing mothers as well as pregnant applicants and employees.
Like other recently enacted pregnancy accommodation laws, accommodations such as acquisition of equipment for sitting, more frequent or longer breaks, periodic rest, assistance with manual labor, job restructuring, light duty assignments, modified work schedules, temporary transfers to less strenuous or hazardous work, time off to recover from child birth, break time, or appropriate facilities for expressing breast milk are the types of accommodations employers must provide unless they would pose an undue hardship. Further, employers may not require pregnant employees to take leave under any law or policy if another reasonable accommodation is available.
Delaware employers also must post a notice of the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of pregnancy or a related condition and the right to reasonable accommodation. They also must provide the notice in writing at time of hire; orally or in writing to current employees by no later than January 7, 2015; and again to any employee who notifies the employer that she is pregnant within ten days of the notification.
For more on this national trend, please review our client alerts addressing the recent laws in New Jersey, New York City, and Philadelphia.