In counseling employers on how to implement the Illinois Pregnancy Accommodation Act, we have noticed many employers have overlooked two important requirements—one of which easily can be audited without the employer even knowing.
First, Illinois employers must post the English version of this notice in a conspicuous location on their premises, along with the Spanish version if they employ Spanish-speaking employees.
Second, and importantly, the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) has made clear that under this new law, Illinois employers who maintain an employee handbook must include information regarding employees’ pregnancy rights in their employee handbook. While neither the Act nor the IDHR specifies what language must be included in employee handbooks, we recommend including the following language:
Employees who are pregnant, recovering from childbirth, or have a medical or common condition related to pregnancy have the right to:
- Request a reasonable accommodation for their pregnancy, such as more frequent bathroom breaks, assistance with heavy work, a private space for expressing milk, or time off to recover from their pregnancy;
- Reject an accommodation offered by the Company for their pregnancy that they do not desire; and
- Continue working during their pregnancy if a reasonable accommodation is available that would allow them to continue performing their job.
The Company will not discriminate against employees because of their pregnancy and will not retaliate against employees because they requested a reasonable accommodation. The Company will not fire, refuse to hire, or refuse to provide employees with reasonable accommodations because of their pregnancy.
For more information on pregnancy-related rights, visit www.illinois.gov/dhr.
For more information on how this Illinois law affects your organization, contact Sonni Nolan or Kayt Kopen or another member of Husch Blackwell’s Labor & Employment group.