Effective January 1st, the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) was amended to prohibit discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or common medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth. The amendment titled The Illinois Pregnancy Accommodation Act (IPAA) imposes workplace accommodation requirements on Illinois employers.

The IPAA ensures employees are protected while suffering from any medical or common condition related to pregnancy and childbirth, by ensuring an employer will:

  • Provide more frequent or longer bathroom break, water breaks, or rest breaks
  • Provide non-bathroom private space for expressing milk and breastfeeding
  • Provide assistance with manual labor, light duty assignments, or temporary reassignment to a less-strenuous or hazardous position, or vacation position
  • Provide an accessible worksite, specialized or modified equipment, job restructuring, or a part-time or modified work schedule
  • Modify employee examinations, training materials, or policies
  • Provide leave necessitated by pregnancy, childbirth, or medical or common condition that results from pregnancy or childbirth

All employers must grant requested accommodations unless they can demonstrate that providing such an accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the ordinary operation of the business. All Illinois employers are also required to post a notice prepared or approved by the department of human rights in the workplace, or update their employee handbook to reflect these changes. In addition to above provisions, the IPAA prohibits:

  • Adverse action based on the need to create a reasonable accommodation
  • Requiring pregnant employees to accept unrequested accommodations
  • Requiring leave if another reasonable accommodation can be provided
  • Failing to reinstate the employee to an original or equivalent position, pay, seniority, and benefits upon return.

To learn more about this leave law, click here.