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New Jersey Bill Seeks to Expand Protections for Pregnant Employees

Authors: Jocelyn A. Merced (Morristown), Evan J. Shenkman (Morristown), Steven J. Luckner (Morristown)

Published Date: November 27, 2013

On November 18, 2013, a bill (S2995) seeking to expand employment protections for pregnant women passed in the Senate 38-0. Specifically, the bill would (1) amend the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination to add pregnancy (including childbirth recovery) to the list of protected classifications, (2) prohibit less favorable treatment of women based upon pregnancy, and (3) require employers to make reasonable accommodations for an employee’s pregnancy-related needs when requested by the employee upon advice of her doctor. Potential reasonable accommodations (subject to an employer’s undue hardship defense) would include bathroom breaks, breaks for increased water intake, periodic rest, assistance with manual labor, job restructuring or modified work schedules (e.g., light duty), and temporary transfers to less strenuous or hazardous work. A reasonable accommodation would not include time off from work. The bill would also prohibit employers from penalizing a pregnant employee for taking advantage of these workplace accommodations. The bill has been sent to the Assembly for consideration.

Note: This article was published in the November, 2013 issue of the New Jersey eAuthority.

Jocelyn A. Merced  (Morristown)

Jocelyn A. Merced
Ms. Merced previously worked as a law clerk to the Honorable Bernadette N. DeCastro in the Civil Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey – Hudson County. While a law clerk, Ms. Merced handled a diverse caseload, including employment law cases requiring determinations as to the discoverability of certain documents. Ms. Merced has a B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University and was selected to the Order of Omega, Greek National Honor Society, a leadership honor society...

Evan J. Shenkman  (Morristown)

Evan J. Shenkman
Evan J. Shenkman is a member of Ogletree Deakins’ Knowledge Management Department, serving as the firm’s Senior Manager of Knowledge Management Counsel and Research. In his role, Mr. Shenkman is responsible creating processes, practices, and software to allow firm attorneys to work smarter, faster, and more in sync; creating internal and client-facing collaborative tools; and managing the firm's team of Knowledge Management Counsel and the firm's Legal Researchers. He also manages...

Steven J. Luckner  (Morristown)

Steven J. Luckner
Steven J. Luckner is a shareholder in the firm's Morristown office where his practice focuses on the defense of cases involving allegations of wrongful discharge, sexual harassment, age, race, sex, religious, disability discrimination, whistle-blower and other statutory claims. Mr. Luckner also has experience in the defense of wage and hour claims under both the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act and various state laws.Mr. Luckner prosecutes and defends cases involving post-employment...