guidance: reasonable accommodation procedures for pregnant employees
MSU is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to qualified employees who have known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless the accommodation would cause an undue hardship.
Known limitation - Physical or mental condition related to, affected by, or arising out of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions that an employee or employee’s representative has communicated to MSU.
Qualified employee - An employee or applicant who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the employment position, except that an employee or applicant shall be considered qualified if:
- any inability to perform an essential function is for a temporary period;
- the essential function could be performed in the near future; and
- the inability to perform the essential function can be reasonably accommodated.
Reasonable accommodation - Changes to the work environment or the way things are usually done at work.
SPEAD - Statement of Pregnant Employee Accommodation Determination. A document that conveys to supervisors the pregnancy-related accommodation.
Undue hardship - Causing significant difficulty or expense
Accommodation requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis considering the employee’s individual needs and the needs of the department. Some examples are listed below; this is not intended to be a complete list of all possible accommodations:
- sip or drink water
- receive closer parking
- have flexible hours
- receive appropriately sized uniforms and safety apparel
- receive additional break time to use the bathroom, eat, and rest;
- take leave or time off to recover from childbirth; and
- be excused from strenuous activities and/or activities that involve exposure to compounds not safe for pregnancy.
Employees needing a pregnancy related accommodation should contact the Accommodations Specialist in the Office of Employee Relations (OER). The OER Accommodations Specialist will communicate with the employee to engage in the interactive process which includes discussing the following with the employee and their unit:
- Possible accommodations;
- The essential job functions of the position;
- The employee’s ability to perform essential job functions and the application of the definition of “qualified employee”;
- Possible reasonable accommodations, if any, that may be needed.
What constitutes a reasonable accommodation will vary depending on the circumstances of each case. In evaluating alternatives for accommodations, the preferences of the individual are considered, but the ultimate decision regarding the type of accommodation if any, is made by the OER Accommodation Specialist. All relevant factors will be considered, including the following:
- Whether an accommodation is needed
- If needed, whether an accommodation would be effective, and
- If effective, whether the accommodation is reasonable and whether providing the accommodation would impose an undue hardship.
Employees will be required to provide documentation from a health care provider establishing the medical need for the accommodation.
The OER Accommodation Specialist will provide a health care provider form to be filled out by the employee’s medical professional. Employees should provide the completed form to the Accommodation Specialist. Any records or information obtained by the University as part of the accommodation process that reflect diagnosis, evaluation, or treatment of an employee’s medical condition are kept confidential. Such records will be shared only with those University employees who have a need to know and will not be released except as required by law.
When an accommodation is granted, the OER Accommodation Specialist issues their determination in a document entitled Statement of Pregnant Employee Accommodation Determination (SPEAD). Supervisors are responsible for maintaining confidentiality of the SPEAD and for facilitating the granted accommodations outlined in it. The SPEAD should be held in a confidential place separate from the employee's personnel file.
Employees and supervisors should contact OER with questions about whether a specific accommodation is reasonable. The employee should continue to receive the accommodation as indicated in the SPEAD unless and until a new or revised SPEAD is issued.
Employees who develop a disability due to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical condition, should refer to the MSU Disability and Reasonable Accommodations Policy .
Please contact WorkplaceAccommodations@hr.msu.edu with questions.