Not long ago, public school districts in Missouri were not required by law to accommodate breast-feeding mothers during the school day. While most schools did anyway, the law has made quite a bit of development in the area of assisting pregnant and nursing mothers over the last 15 years. Progress on this is once again moving forward with the Pregnancy Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), which just went into effect on June 27, 2023.
The PWFA requires covered employers to provide “reasonable accommodations” to a worker’s known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless the accommodation will cause on “undue hardship” on the employer. Let’s unpack that sentence.
Thankfully, nearly all public-school districts in Missouri are going to be required to follow this law, as the law applies to any employer with at least 15 employees. The accommodation process for the PWFA is similar to what you’re likely familiar with under the ADA. The employer is required by law to have a conversation with you and attempt to try and find reasonable accommodations that work for everybody.
However, there are limitations to what the employer is required to do. A reasonable accommodation could be the ability to sit, eat and/or rest during the day, or additional break times to use the bathroom. The needs of each employee will be different and will need to be discussed with your school district.
Out of this new law there are other protections for an employee. Employers cannot deny a job or other employment opportunity to someone who is otherwise qualified because of the person’s need to a reasonable accommodation. Employers cannot retaliate against an individual or otherwise interfere with an individual’s rights under the PWFA. As with any legal situation, issues are fact specific.
If you have questions about this new law, or any other legal questions, you should contact the MSTA Legal Services Department at 866-343-6186. You can also e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.