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Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

Policy Statement

In accordance with Massachusetts state law, it is unlawful to discriminate against an employee due to pregnancy or a condition related to pregnancy including, but not limited to lactation or the need to express breast milk for a nursing child.

Reason for Policy

To establish uniform guidelines to promote a work and educational environment at WNE free from discrimination and harassment of pregnant individuals, those with pregnancy-related conditions including but not limited to childbirth, termination of pregnancy, and/or lactation. This policy also covers post-childbirth situations.

Who Is Governed by this Policy

Faculty and Staff

Students requesting pregnancy-related accommodation should contact the Office of Student Accessibility Services.    


The University may not take adverse action or retaliate against an employee who requests or uses a reasonable accommodation. This includes failing to reinstate the employee to the original employment status or to an equivalent position with equivalent pay and accumulated seniority, retirement, benefits, and other applicable service credits when the need for reasonable accommodation ceases.

The University may not deny an employment opportunity to an employee if the denial is based on the need of the employer to make a reasonable accommodation to the known conditions related to the employee’s pregnancy. Employees who take leave as an accommodation under this policy will be reinstated to their original job or to an equivalent position with equivalent pay, seniority, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment upon their notification to the college of their intent to return to work or when the employee’s need for a reasonable accommodation ends.

The University may not require a pregnant employee or employee with a pregnancy-related condition to accept an accommodation that the employee chooses not to accept, if that accommodation is unnecessary to enable the employee to perform the essential functions of the job.

The University may not require an employee to take leave if another reasonable accommodation may be provided to the known conditions related to the employee’s pregnancy or need to pump without undue hardship on the employer.

The University may not refuse to hire a person who is pregnant because of the pregnancy or because of a condition related to the person’s pregnancy such as breast milk expression; provided that the person is capable of performing the essential functions of the position with reasonable accommodations and that the reasonable accommodation would not impose an undue hardship on the employer.

Under the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, employees and applicants with needs related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions (including lactation), may request a reasonable accommodation to enable them to perform their job. A reasonable accommodation may include, but is not limited to, the following: more frequent or longer breaks; acquisition or modification of equipment or seating; assistance with manual labor; job restructuring; light duty; private non-bathroom space for expressing breast milk; modified work schedules; temporary transfers to a less strenuous or hazardous position; or time off to attend to a pregnancy complication or recover from childbirth.

The University will provide reasonable accommodations for needs related to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition so long as the requested accommodation does not impose an undue hardship on the University.

The University may require that employees provide documentation about the need for reasonable accommodation, or the need to extend an accommodation, from an appropriate health care or rehabilitation professional. The University will not require such documentation when the requested accommodation is more frequent restroom, food and water breaks; seating; private non-bathroom space for expressing breast milk; or limits on lifting over 20 pounds.


Employees who have questions about this policy or who wish to request leave or other reasonable accommodations under this policy should contact the Associate Vice President of Human Resources, who serves as the University’s EEO Officer and ADA 504 Coordinator. 

When an employee makes a request for an accommodation, the University and employee will engage in a timely, good faith, and interactive process to determine an effective reasonable accommodation.

Anyone who believes they have been discriminated or retaliated against in violation of this policy should report the matter immediately to the University’s EEO Officer or the Title IX Coordinator.

Inquiries concerning the application of nondiscrimination policies may also be referred to:

Regional Director Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
8th Floor
5 Post Office Square
Boston, MA 02109-3921

Telephone: 617-289-0111
Facsimile: 617-289-0150

Complaints can be filed Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD)
436 Dwight Street, Room 222
Springfield, MA 01103

Telephone: 413-739-2145
Facsimile: 413-784-1056

Document History

Policy Origination Date: July 27, 2023

Who Approved This Policy

Associate Vice President of Human Resources 


Associate Director of Human Resources
Rivers Memorial