Utah recently passed a new law, which will be effective May 10, 2016, designed to provide additional workplace protections to employees who are pregnant, breastfeeding and/or dealing with other related conditions.
Under the new law, which amends the Utah state anti-discrimination statute, employers with 15 or more employees cannot refuse to provide a requested accommodation to an employee on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or “any related condition,” unless the requested accommodation would create an “undue hardship” to the employer. The statute defines an “undue hardship” as “an action that requires significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to factors such as the size of the entity, the entity’s financial resources, and the nature and structure of the entity’s operation.”
In many instances, an employer may require an employee to provide a medical certification from the employee’s health care provider concerning the medical advisability of a requested accommodation. In the medical certification, an employer is entitled to information including: (i) the date that the reasonable accommodation should begin; (ii) the probable duration of the accommodation; and (iii) an explanation regarding why the health care provider advises the accommodation. However, Utah employers should note that they may not request a medical certification if the employee’s requested accommodation is for more frequent restroom, food, or water breaks.
The new law also expressly states that an employer is not required to permit an employee to bring her child to the workplace for purposes of accommodating pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related conditions.
Employers will be required to post written notice of employees’ rights to reasonable accommodation “in a conspicuous place in the employer’s place of business” or to include notice of such policy in their employee handbooks.