On June 1st, 2016, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed bill 16-1438 enacting a number of amendments to the Colorado anti-discrimination law. Colorado now offers protections to pregnant employees and employees recovering from childbirth and any related condition.

All employers within the State of Colorado are required to engage in an interactive process with their employees, or job applicants, to assess the need for an accommodation. All employees or job applicants affected by health conditions related to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related condition, are entitled to request an accommodation without the condition being disabling. Employers are not required to provide leave as an accommodation unless they would offer this to other employees with different conditions.

Reasonable accommodations could include any of the following:

  • More frequent or longer break periods,
  • More frequent restroom, food and water breaks,
  • Acquisition or modification of equipment or seating,
  • Limitations on lifting,
  • Temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position if available, with return to current position to the current position after pregnancy,
  • Job restructuring,
  • Light duty, if available,
  • Assistance with manual labor,
  • Modified work schedule, or
  • Leave only if offered to other employees for different conditions.

Employers may require that an employee or job applicant provide a note from their health care provider stating the need for a reasonable accommodation. Employees are entitled to be reinstated to their current position after pregnancy, or recovery from a related health condition.

Employers can deny a request if an accommodation would cause an undue hardship, requiring significant difficulty or expense to the employer. While accommodating an employee, employers are not required to hire new employees, discharge an employee, transfer a more senior employee, or promote another employee not qualified to perform the job.