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29 Jul

July 2021 Louisiana HR Legal Updates

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Louisiana Employers Required to Provide Pregnancy Accommodations

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Louisiana.

What happened?
On June 17, 2021, Governor John Bel Edwards signed Senate Bill 215 (SB215) into law.

What are the details?
Effective August 1, 2021, employers must provide reasonable accommodations to employees who need them due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless it would pose an undue hardship on the employer.

The statute does clarify that employers are not required to create positions (including light duty) that don’t already exist unless the employer does so for other employees who need the accommodations. Also, it is not required for an employer to discharge or “bump” another employee to make accommodations.

The new statute provides examples of possible reasonable accommodations, including:

  • Making facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by an applicant or employee (however, an employer is not required to construct a permanent, dedicated space for expressing milk).
  • Providing more frequent breaks.
  • Providing light duty, if available.
  • Acquiring or modifying equipment devices necessary for performing essential functions.
  • Modifying work schedules.

The new law does not change an employer’s existing obligations to provide a reasonable leave of absence of at least six weeks for a normal pregnancy or childbirth or for a period of time that an employee is disabled on account of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions not to exceed four months.

Employers are also prohibited from refusing to select a pregnant worker for a training program that leads to a promotion as long as the employee can complete the program at least three months prior to her pregnancy leave. An employer is also prohibited from discharging a pregnant worker from employment or to discriminate against her in compensation or in the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.

Employers must notify existing employees about the new requirements by December 1, 2021 and new employees must be notified at the commencement of employment. The notification must be posted in a conspicuous area that is accessible to employees.

The bill can be read here.

An article on the bill can be read here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the bill here and information above to update any applicable workplace policies to remain in compliance with the new accommodation law.