As we previously reported here, on September 30, 2013, the New Jersey Senate introduced a bill to include pregnancy among the list of enumerated protected categories under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. On November 18, 2013, the full New Jersey Senate passed the bill by a 38-0 vote.
The bill would prohibit employers from treating women affected by pregnancy or childbirth less favorably than other employees who are similar in their ability or inability to work. If passed, the bill would require employers of women affected by pregnancy to make available reasonable accommodations for pregnancy-related needs when the employee, with the advice of her physician, requests accommodation. The bill would also prohibit employers from penalizing employees affected by pregnancy in the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment for using accommodations.
Amendments by the Senate Labor Committee, which we reported on here, provided some important guidance for employers, including clarification as to the type of accommodations that are required by the bill and a provision that an employer would not be required to provide an accommodation under the bill if doing so would cause an “undue hardship” on its business operations.
Now that the bill has passed the Senate, it heads to the Assembly for consideration, where it has been referred to the Assembly Women and Children Committee. Check back here for additional updates on the bill’s progression through the New Jersey legislature.