Workplace Accommodations for Pregnancy, Childbirth and Related Medical Conditions

Overview of the PWFA

In accordance with the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), Wichita State University (WSU) prohibits discrimination or retaliation against workers with a known limitation related to pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition.

For purposes of employment, the PWFA guarantees workers the affirmative right to receive reasonable accommodations for known limitations stemming from pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions unless the requested accommodations would pose an undue hardship to the employer.

Students who need accommodation in academic programs should contact the Office of Disability Services, (316) 978-3309, to initiate the process. Students who need accommodation in their employment should follow the guidance based on the specific type of accommodation request as described below.

Keywords defined by the PWFA

An individual with a known limitation is a person who:
  • Has needs related to pregnancy and recovery from childbirth.
  • Related medical conditions including lactation, mastitis, etc.

A pregnant or postpartum worker does NOT need to have a pregnancy-related disability in order to receive an accommodation.

Reasonable Accommodations

Reasonable accommodations are any modification or accommodation to a job, practice, policy or the work environment that enables an employee to perform the essential functions of a position without creating undue hardship for the employer.

Reasonable accommodations may include, but are not limited to:
  • Light duty or help with manual labor and lifting
  • Temporary transfer to a less physically demanding or safer position
  • Additional, longer, or more flexible breaks to drink water, eat, rest, or use the restroom
  • Changing food or drink policies to allow a worker to have a water bottle or food
  • Changing equipment, devices, or workstation
  • Making existing facilities easier to use, such as relocating a workstation closer to the restroom.
  • Changing a uniform or dress code.
  • Changing a work schedule, like having shorter work hours or a later start time.
  • Breaks, private space (not in a restroom), and other accommodations for lactation needs.
  • Flexible scheduling for prenatal or postnatal appointments.
  • Time off for bedrest, recovery from childbirth, mastitis, etc.
Interactive Process

The process for determining if there are reasonable accommodations that can be implemented is called the interactive process. It is an ongoing conversation between an employee and Human Resources (HR) as well as between HR and the employee’s supervisor to determine if there are reasonable accommodations that will enable the employee to complete the essential functions of their job. Documentation of the request and interactive process is required and will be documented by HR.

Confidentiality under the PWFA

Accommodation requests and any supporting documentation related to the determination of the request will be kept separate from the employee personnel file, in the employee's confidential medical file in HR.  Employers informed of an employee's limitations and request for accommodation are prohibited from disclosing such information to other employees and third-party individuals with the following limited exceptions:

  1. Supervisors may know about necessary restrictions on the work or duties of an employee and any accommodations.
  2. First aid and safety personnel may be informed if the limitations might require emergency treatment or specific procedures are needed in the case of fire or other evacuation.
  3. Government officials investigating compliance with the PWFA and/or other federal and state laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions, may be provided relevant information upon request.

Complaint Procedures for Applicants and Employees

Any applicant or employee who believes they had a reasonable accommodation request denied, was discriminated or was retaliated against due to an accommodation request, is encouraged to make a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights, Title IX & ADA Compliance. The Notice of Non-discrimination Policy, including the complaint process, may be found online (refer to University Policy 3.02 / Notice of Nondiscrimination for more information).


Applicant for University Position Accommodation Requests

Persons requesting accommodations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions in the application or interview process, please notify Human Resources at (316) 978-3065 or email


Workplace Modification or Accommodation Request Process

If you are a WSU employee who needs a modification in order to meet the requirements of your job, please discuss your situation and possible solutions with your supervisor and then follow the steps below.

Steps to Request an Accommodation:

  • Employee: After discussing your situation with your supervisor, complete an PWFA Employee Request (ER) for Workplace Accommodations detailing any known limitations and possible modification(s), and submit it to HR at Hard copies of the ER form and other accommodation process forms are available in HR upon request. 
    • If you need assistance filling out the ER form, need help with requesting an accommodation, or have any questions, you may contact for assistance.

  • Human Resources: After receiving the completed ER form, HR will review the request and if needed, utilize the interactive process. During the interactive process: 
    • Step 1: HR will meet with the employee to identify possible accommodation options that will enable the employee to fulfill the essential functions of their job.  HR may request additional medical documentation from the employee as related to the identified limitations.
    • Step 2: HR will meet with the supervisor to discuss possible accommodations. Supervisors may introduce new or additional ideas or options to accommodate the employee's needs that will enable the employee to fulfill the essential functions of their role. 
    • Step 3: If the supervisor introduces a new idea or option that the employee has not considered, HR will meet to discuss the information with the employee to determine if this is a possible option.
    • Step 4: Once an accommodation has mutually been agreed upon by the employee and supervisor, HR will document the accommodation through the interactive form and coordinate the implementation of the accommodation, if needed.
  • Human Resources: Communicate the determination/outcome of the accommodation request (approved, temporarily approved or denied) to the employee and supervisor. The completed documentation, including the request form, any supporting information, interactive process documentation, and final determination will be stored in the confidential employee medical file, which is separate from the personnel file.
  • Employee: Have a discussion with your supervisor if the agreed upon accommodation is not working. If an adjustment, update, or additional request is needed it should be discussed with your supervisor and email with a request to speak with an HR representative about your accommodation needs. Any updates to accommodations will be filed in the confidential employee medical file. 

Resources for Frequently Asked Questions

Additional Resources

Who to Contact

HR Total Rewards Team
Human Resources Logo

Updated: 11/3/2023 SA