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The 190th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

AN ACT ESTABLISHING THE MASSACHUSETTS PREGNANT WORKERS FAIRNESS ACT

     Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
     SECTION 1.  Section 4 of chapter 151B of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “information”, in lines 5, 89 and 93 and 94, each time it appears, the following words:- , pregnancy or a condition related to said pregnancy including, but not limited to, lactation or the need to express breast milk for a nursing child.
     SECTION 2.  Said section 4 of said chapter 151B, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after subsection 1D the following subsection:-
     1E. (a)  For an employer to deny a reasonable accommodation for an employee’s pregnancy or any condition related to the employee’s pregnancy including, but not limited to, lactation or the need to express breast milk for a nursing child if the employee requests such an accommodation; provided, however, that an employer may deny such an accommodation if the employer can demonstrate that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the employer’s program, enterprise or business. It shall also be an unlawful practice under this subsection to:
     (i)  take adverse action against an employee who requests or uses a reasonable accommodation in terms, conditions or privileges of employment including, but not limited to, failing to reinstate the employee to the original employment status or to an equivalent position with equivalent pay and accumulated seniority, retirement, fringe benefits and other applicable service credits when the need for a reasonable accommodation ceases;
     (ii)  deny an employment opportunity to an employee if the denial is based on the need of the employer to make a reasonable accommodation to the known conditions related to the employee’s pregnancy including, but not limited to, lactation or the need to express breast milk for a nursing child;
     (iii)  require an employee affected by pregnancy, or require said employee affected by a condition related to the pregnancy, including, but not limited to, lactation or the need to express breast milk for a nursing child, to accept an accommodation that the employee chooses not to accept, if that accommodation is unnecessary to enable the employee to perform the essential functions of the job;
     (iv)  require an employee to take a leave if another reasonable accommodation may be provided for the known conditions related to the employee’s pregnancy, including, but not limited to, lactation or the need to express breast milk for a nursing child, without undue hardship on the employer’s program, enterprise or business;
     (v)  refuse to hire a person who is pregnant because of the pregnancy or because of a condition related to the person’s pregnancy, including, but not limited to, lactation or the need to express breast milk for a nursing child; provided, however, that the person is capable of performing the essential functions of the position with a reasonable accommodation and that reasonable accommodation would not impose an undue hardship, demonstrated by the employer, on the employer’s program, enterprise or business.
     (b)  As used in this subsection, the following words shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly requires otherwise:
     “Reasonable accommodation”, may include, but shall not be limited to: (i) more frequent or longer paid or unpaid breaks; (ii) time off to attend to a pregnancy complication or recover from childbirth with or without pay; (iii) acquisition or modification of equipment or seating; (iv) temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position; (v) job restructuring; (vi) light duty; (vii) private non-bathroom space for expressing breast milk; (viii) assistance with manual labor; or (ix) a modified work schedule; provided, however, that an employer shall not be required to discharge or transfer an employee with more seniority or promote an employee who is not able to perform the essential functions of the job with or without a reasonable accommodation.
     “Undue hardship”, an action requiring significant difficulty or expense; provided, however, that the employer shall have the burden of proving undue hardship; provided further, that in making a determination of undue hardship, the following factors shall be considered: (i) the nature and cost of the needed accommodation; (ii) the overall financial resources of the employer; (iii) the overall size of the business of the employer with respect to the number of employees and the number, type and location of its facilities; and (iv) the effect on expenses and resources or any other impact of the accommodation on the employer’s program, enterprise or business.
     (c)  Upon request for an accommodation from the employee or prospective employee capable of performing the essential functions of the position involved, the employee or prospective employee and the employer shall engage in a timely, good faith and interactive process to determine an effective, reasonable accommodation to enable the employee or prospective employee to perform the essential functions of the employee’s job or the position to which the prospective employee has applied. An employer may require that documentation about the need for a reasonable accommodation come from an appropriate health care or rehabilitation professional; provided, however, that an employer shall not require documentation from an appropriate health care or rehabilitation professional for the following accommodations: (i) more frequent restroom, food or water breaks; (ii) seating; (iii) limits on lifting more than 20 pounds; and (iv) private non-bathroom space for expressing breast milk. An “appropriate health care or rehabilitation professional” shall include, but shall not be limited to, a medical doctor, including a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a nurse practitioner, a physician assistant, a psychiatric clinical nurse specialist, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, a speech therapist, a vocational rehabilitation specialist, a midwife, a lactation consultant or another licensed mental health professional authorized to perform specified mental health services. An employer may require documentation for an extension of the accommodation beyond the originally agreed to accommodation.
     (d)  Written notice of the right to be free from discrimination in relation to pregnancy or a condition related to the employee’s pregnancy including, but not limited to, lactation or the need to express breast milk for a nursing child, including the right to reasonable accommodations for conditions related to pregnancy pursuant to this subsection, shall be distributed by an employer to its employees.  The notice shall be provided in a handbook, pamphlet or other means of notice to all employees including, but not limited to: (i) new employees at or prior to the commencement of employment; and (ii) an employee who notifies the employer of a pregnancy or an employee who notifies the employer of a condition related to the employee’s pregnancy including, but not limited to, lactation or the need to express breast milk for a nursing child not more than 10 days after such notification.
     (e)  Subject to appropriation, the commission shall develop courses of instruction and conduct public education efforts as necessary to inform employers, employees and employment agencies about the rights and responsibilities established under this subsection not more than 180 days after the appropriation.
     (f)  This subsection shall not be construed to preempt, limit, diminish or otherwise affect any other law relating to sex discrimination or pregnancy or in any way diminish the coverage for pregnancy or a condition related to pregnancy including, but not limited to, lactation or the need to express breast milk for a nursing child under section 105D of chapter 149.
     SECTION 3.  An employer shall provide written notice in a handbook, pamphlet or by other means to its employees of the right to be free from discrimination in relation to pregnancy or a condition related to pregnancy including, but not limited to, lactation or the need to express breast milk for a nursing child, including the right to reasonable accommodations for conditions related to pregnancy, pursuant to subsection 1E of section 4 of chapter 151B of the General Laws not later than April 1, 2018.
     SECTION 4.  This act shall take effect on April 1, 2018.

Approved, July 27, 2017