Amendment to Oregon Pregnancy & Childbirth Accommodations Laws
The Oregon Legislature recently passed House Bill 2341 (2019) which provides additional employee protections related to pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition, including lactation.
Provision of Lactation Breaks
Previously, Oregon required employers to provide a fixed, 30-minute break for this purpose, every four hours an employee worked. Effective September 29, 2019, employers must provide an employee with a “reasonable rest period to express milk each time the employee has a need” to do so until the employee’s child’s age reaches 18 months. The law includes an exemption for undue hardship, but it applies only to employers with 10 or fewer employees.
Accommodations for Pregnancy-Related Conditions
The Oregon Family Leave Act provides up to 12 weeks of protected leave to eligible employees of covered employers for quality conditions. In the case of pregnancy disability, an employee may also qualify for up to an additional 12 weeks of leave.
Under HB 2341, employers with 6 or more employees will also need to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with pregnancy-related conditions. Specifically, HB 2341 makes it unlawful for an employer to:
- Disallow employment opportunities to an applicant or employee based on the need to make reasonable accommodation to the known limitations relating to pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition, including but not limited to lactation;
- Fail or reject to make reasonable accommodation to these known limitations, unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship;
- Take an adverse employment action or in any manner discriminate or retaliate against an applicant or an employee, with respect to hiring or tenure, or any other term or condition of employment, because the applicant or employee has inquired about, requested or used a reasonable accommodation;
- Require an applicant or an employee to accept a reasonable accommodation that is unnecessary to perform the essential duties of the job or to accept a reasonable accommodation if the applicant or employee does not have a known limitation; or
- Require an employee to take family leave, or any other leave if the employer can make reasonable accommodation to the known limitations.
Aggrieved employees may bring civil actions against their employers. Employees also may file complaints with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.
Employers also will need to post signs in a conspicuous and accessible location informing employees of these new discrimination protections and their right to reasonable accommodation for known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, and pregnancy-related medical conditions, including but not limited to lactation.
The law becomes effective on January 1, 2020.