Washington Maternity and Pregnancy laws & HR compliance analysis

Washington Maternity and Pregnancy: What you need to know

The Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) prohibits discriminating in employment on the basis of sex (WA Rev. Code Sec. 49.60.010 et seq.).
According to the regulations issued by the Washington State Human Rights Commission (WSHRC), discrimination against an employee or an applicant for employment because of pregnancy is a form of sex discrimination (WA Admin. Code Sec. 162-30-020).
Therefore, employers may not discharge or refuse to hire a woman because she is pregnant or may become pregnant in the future.
Employers must also treat a woman on pregnancy-related leave the same as other employees on leave for sickness or other temporary disabilities. This means that employers must provide the same disability leave benefits to women who are pregnant or have recently given birth as they provide to any other employee. This also means that disabilities related to pregnancy or childbirth cannot be excluded from an employer’s other leave or benefits policies.
The WLAD applies to employers of eight or more employees.
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Effective July 23, 2017, the Washington Healthy Starts Act creates new accommodation rights for pregnant workers. (RCW 43.10.005).
Pregnancy" includes the employee's pregnancy and pregnancy-related health conditions. The Act does not require the employee to demonstrate a pregnancy-related disability in order to qualify for accommodation.
Covered employers. The Act applies to employers with 15 or more employees.
Examples of reasonable accommodations. The Act provides several specific examples of reasonable accommodations, while also limiting employers’ ability to request medical verification and claim undue hardship for certain of these ...

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