The Nevada Pregnant Workers Fairness Act: What Changed and Why it Matters

On October 1, 2017, the Nevada’s Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (NPWFA) went into effect. The NPWFA expanded the scope of protections provided to female employees under state law. Specifically, the NPWFA addresses conditions of female employees related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. The NPWFA generally applies to Nevada employers with 15 or more workers. Contractor employers, licensed under NRS Chapter 624, are not subject to some of the NPWFA mandates.

NPWFA Protections

The NPWFA makes it illegal for employers to:

  • Refuse to provide reasonable accommodations to a female applicant or employee for a condition related to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition when it is requested unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the employer;

  • Retaliate against a female employee because she uses a reasonable accommodation or requests to use one related to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition;

  • Deny an otherwise qualified female employee or applicant an employment opportunity based on her need for a reasonable accommodation related to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition;

  • Mandate that a female applicant or employee affected by a condition related to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition accept an accommodation that she did not request or chose not to accept or mandate that she take leave from employment if the accommodation is not available;

How NPWFA is Different

There are several protections under the NPWFA that differ from the federal law. Specifically, the NPWFA provides more protections than current federal laws. Most are familiar with the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). Generally, however, the PDA does not mandate that employers provide a reasonable accommodation if they do not provide it for the majority of their non-pregnant employees.

On the other hand, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not come into play in this specific scenario because pregnancy is not defined as a disability under the law. In other words, the NPFWA provides protections regardless of whether the pregnant employee is deemed to have a pregnancy-related disability. The standards for reasonable accommodations, however, are similar to those under the ADA.

Reasonable Accommodations Under the NPWFA

The state’s NPWFA includes a non-exhaustive of “reasonable” accommodations including:

  • Changing the duration, frequency and/or schedule of breaks;

  • Providing equipment or seating modifications;

  • Authorizing light duty;

  • Allowing for a modified work schedule;

  • Providing a place, other than a bathroom, for expression of breast milk;

  • Temporarily transferring the employee to a less strenuous or hazardous position; or

  • Providing help with manual labor if this type of labor is incidental to the employee’s primary duties.

Notably, an employer subject to the NPWFA is not required to create a new position it would not have otherwise just to accommodate an employee under the law. Unless, however, the employer would be required to create the position to accommodate another class of employees. Likewise, a Nevada employer is not mandated to transfer or discharge a more senior employee or promote an otherwise unqualified employee under NPWFA unless the employer would be required to take such action with another class of employees for accommodation purposes.

Nevada Legal Help

Employers are required to provide their workers with notice of the NPWFA and must post this notice in a conspicuous place in an area that is accessible to workers. If you or someone you know has questions about the NPWFA, or any other legal question, contact the knowledgeable lawyers at Parry & Pfau today.

(image courtesy of Andrew Seaman)