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8. I need to deny or propose an alternative to an employee's leave request.




Notice concerning the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act of 2022

This document was issued prior to enactment of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), which took effect on June 27, 2023. The PWFA expands the rights of workers affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions to receive reasonable accommodations, absent undue hardship. To learn about protections under the PWFA, visit What You Should Know About the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

The laws enforced by the EEOC require employers to provide reasonable accommodations (changes to the way things are normally done at work) because of an employee's disability or religious beliefs, in certain circumstances. For example, in some instances, you may be required to provide employees with leave for medical or religious reasons.


However, you may be entitled propose alternatives to medical or religious leave or to deny requests for medical or religious leave in certain circumstances.

  • The demands of your business or the nature of the employee's job may make it very difficult for you to grant leave requests in certain circumstances.
  • In those situations, consider whether there are other solutions that would address the employee's medical or religious needs and allow her to continue working.
    • If you and your employee are having difficulty finding the right disability accommodation, the U.S. Department of Labor's Job Accommodation Network (JAN) may be able to help. JAN provides free, confidential disability accommodation assistance.
    • Many accommodations are not expensive, and some are free.
  • Solutions may differ based on the nature of your business, the work performed by the employee and the employee's medical condition or religious beliefs.
  • Because these determinations can be complicated, you may want to consult a lawyer or contact the EEOC for assistance.

See also:

Leave Policy Tips

Example - Denying a Leave Request

Example - Alternatives to Granting Leave

What should I do if an applicant or employee asks for breaks, leave or other changes to a work situation because of his medical condition or his religious beliefs?

Disability Accommodations Tips

Religious Accommodations Tips