The federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act has recently been re-introduced to both Houses of Congress. If enacted, the Act would require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees. The accommodation requirement is intended to allow pregnant employees to continue working through pregnancy, if they wish, and to protect them from forced leave of absence or employment termination due to pregnancy. The Act would also make it unlawful for employers to deny employment opportunities to women based on the need for reasonable accommodation related to pregnancy or childbirth. The proposed pregnancy law appears to have support in both the House and the Senate and would more than likely be signed into law by the President.
Illinois already has an employment law that requires employers of any size to provide pregnant employees with a wide range of reasonable accommodations, as long as they do not impose an undue hardship on the business. This is a component of the amended Illinois Human Rights Act. Illinois employers are also required to provide employees with private, non-bathroom space for breastfeeding. There are a whole host of Illinois employment laws of which employers must be aware.