Virginia Maternity and Pregnancy laws & HR compliance analysis

Virginia Maternity and Pregnancy: What you need to know

The Virginia Human Rights Act prohibits employers with more than 5 but fewer than 15 employees from discharging an employee on the basis of sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions (including lactation) (VA Code Sec. 2.2-3900A et seq.).
This means that employers must treat pregnancy-related conditions the same as they treat other types of temporary disabilities for all employment-related purposes, including leave and other benefits.
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The Virginia Human Rights Act has long prohibited terminating employees based on pregnancy and “childbirth or related medical conditions.” The Virginia Values Act (VVA), which amends the Virginia Human Rights Act and becomes effective July 1, 2020, prohibits unlawful discrimination in the workplace based on pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, including nursing. It applies to all Virginia employers with five or more employees. Importantly, the VVA also creates a private cause of action prohibiting broader discrimination related to pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions.
The VVA includes a requirement that employers engage in the interactive process, much like the interactive process under the ADA, to determine if an accommodation is reasonable and, if it is not, to discuss alternative accommodations. Employers are not required to make accommodations if they would impose an undue hardship on the employer.
“Reasonable accommodations” under the law include:
(1) More frequent or longer bathroom breaks,
(2) Breaks to express breast milk,
(3) Access to a private location other than a bathroom for the expression of breast milk,
(4) Acquisition or modification of equipment or access to or modification of employee seating,
(5) A ...

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