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Pregnancy accommodations at work

Oregon law provides protections for pregnant workers and those who have health conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth, including expressing milk.

It’s illegal for employers to:

  • Deny employment opportunities to an applicant or worker based on the need to make reasonable accommodation to the known limitations relating to pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition, including lactation
  • Fire, demote, or in any way discriminate or retaliate against an applicant or worker because they inquired about, requested or used a reasonable accommodation
  • Require an applicant or worker to accept a reasonable accommodation that is unnecessary to perform the essential duties of the job or to accept an accommodation if the applicant or worker does not have a known limitation
  • Require a worker to take family leave, or any other leave, if the employer can make reasonable accommodation to the known limitations
Employers must post signs in a conspicuous and accessible location informing employees of these anti-discrimination protections and their right to reasonable accommodations. Template notice here.

Time off

  • The Oregon Family Leave Act provides up to 12 weeks of protected leave to eligible workers
  • Workers may also qualify for up to an additional 12 weeks of leave due to pregnancy-related conditions, either before or after giving birth

Employers must post signs and provide information informing employees of these anti-discrimination protections and their right to reasonable accommodations.

If you think your employer is violating this law, you can make a complaint or contact us to get help.

The law

ORS 659A

Frequently asked questions

For workers

Which employers are covered by this law?

All Oregon employers with six or more employees.

Which workers are covered?

All employees or applicants with known limitations related to pregnancy-related medical conditions including lactation are covered by this law.

What “reasonable accommodations” does my employer need to provide?

Reasonable accommodations are not specifically limited by law, but could include:

  • Acquisition or modification of equipment or devices;
  • More frequent or longer break periods or periodic rest;
  • Assistance with manual labor; or
  • Modification of work schedules or job assignments
When does reasonable accommodation become unreasonable?

It becomes unreasonable if it would cause your employer an undue hardship. An undue hardship is an action that is significantly difficult or expensive in relation to the size of the employer, the resources available and the nature of the business.

An employer that refuses an accommodation based on undue hardship should be prepared to prove that the accommodation would, in fact, create an undue hardship.

For employers

Which employers are covered by this law?

All Oregon employers with six or more employees.

Which employees are covered?

All employees or candidates with known limitations related to pregnancy-related medical conditions including lactation. Unlike OFLA or even Oregon’s sick time law, there is no waiting period prior to becoming eligible for these protections.

What “reasonable accommodations” will employers need to provide?

Reasonable accommodations are not specifically limited, but may include:

  • Acquisition or modification of equipment or devices;
  • More frequent or longer break periods or periodic rest;
  • Assistance with manual labor; or
  • Modification of work schedules or job assignments
When does reasonable accommodation become unreasonable?

It becomes unreasonable if it would cause the employer an undue hardship. An undue hardship is an action that is significantly difficult or expensive in relation to the size of the employer, the resources available and the nature of the business. Undue hardship is not a bright-line test. An employer that refuses an accommodation based on undue hardship should be prepared to prove that the accommodation would, in fact, create an undue hardship.

Employers should also be aware of another legislative change, HB 2593, which expands Oregon protections for the expression of breastmilk on the job as well. Read more here.

What information do I need to post in my worksites?

Employers must post signs in a conspicuous and accessible location informing employees of these anti-discrimination protections and their right to reasonable accommodations. Template notice here.

In addition to posting, employers will need to provide a written copy of the notice to:

  • New employees, at the time of hire;
  • Existing employees, by June 29, 2020 (180 days after the effective date of HB 2341 (2019); and
  • Any employee who informs the employer of the employee’s pregnancy, within 10 days.

Disclaimer: This website is not intended as legal advice. Any responses to specific questions are based on the facts as we understand them and the law that was current when the responses were written. They are not intended to apply to any other situations. This communication is not an agency order. If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney.​


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