State laws

New guide covers pregnant workers’ rights in Washington state

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Olympia, WA — The Washington State Office of the Attorney General has published a guide outlining pregnant employees’ civil rights under a state law passed in 2017.

The Healthy Starts Act states that pregnant workers at organizations with at least 15 employees have the right to the following accommodations without providing written correspondence from a health care provider:

  • Frequent, longer or flexible restroom breaks.
  • Ability to modify no-food-or-drink policies.
  • Agreeable seating or ability to sit more frequently.
  • Limited lifting of 17 pounds or less.

Employers may request written correspondence from a health care provider if the lifting restriction accommodation carries significant difficulty or expense to the employer. Employers may also request written correspondence for:

  • Job restructuring such as modified work schedules, job reassignment, and workstation changes or equipment additions.
  • Temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position.
  • Providing assistance with manual labor.
  • Scheduling flexibility for prenatal visits.
  • Further accommodations the employee may need.

“The attorney general shall investigate complaints and enforce this section,” the legislation states.

The guide is available in English and Spanish.

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