The Utah State Legislature recently passed S.B. 59, a bill that would amend the Utah Antidiscrimination Act to require employers with 15 or more Utah employees to provide reasonable accommodations related to pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related conditions. The bill is currently awaiting the governor’s signature.
Under the law, a qualifying Utah employer would not be allowed to refuse to provide a requested accommodation, discharge an employee, or deny employment opportunities to an employee on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or a related condition, unless the employer demonstrates that the accommodation would create an undue hardship on the employer’s operations. An “undue hardship” is defined as an action that would require “significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to factors such as the size of the entity, the entity’s financial resources, and the nature, and structure of the entity’s operation.”
In determining the need for an accommodation, an employer may require an employee to obtain a certification from his or her healthcare provider that includes the date the accommodation becomes medically advisable, the probable duration of the accommodation, and an explanatory statement as to the medically advisability of the accommodation. However, an employer may not require an employee to obtain a certification to support a request for an accommodation of more frequent restroom, food, or water breaks. The measure also specifies that an employer is not required to permit an employee to have his or her child at the workplace for purposes of accommodating pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related conditions.
To comply with the new law, employers would be required to include written notice concerning an employee’s rights to reasonable accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related conditions in the company’s employee handbook or to post such notice in a conspicuous place in the employer’s place of business.
If enacted, S.B. 59 would be an important change to existing Utah law. If you have employees in Utah, you may want to review your policies to ensure compliance should the new law go into effect.