Dynamic Work/Life Solutions Blog

EMPLOYER ALERT: EEOC Issues Updated Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues

Posted by Cindy Mccall on Wed, Sep 17, 2014 @ 11:50 AM

Happy Pregnant Woman Pregnancy resized 600

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently issued Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues. This guidance is an update to previous guidance that EEOC released regarding the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) enacted by Congress in 1978. The PDA provides protection from discrimination against an employee on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, past pregnancy and woman's ability to be pregnant in the future, and inequalities in parental leave.

The Enforcement Guidance incorporates developments in the law that has occurred since PDA was created. It also sets out the requirements employers should follow in line with the PDA and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as amended in 2008, as it relates to individuals with pregnancy-related disabilities.

Among other issues, the guidance discusses:

  • The fact that the PDA covers not only current pregnancy, but discrimination based on past pregnancy and a woman's potential to become pregnant;

  • Lactation as a covered pregnancy-related medical condition;

  • The circumstances under which employers may have to provide light duty for pregnant workers;

  • Issues related to leave for pregnancy and for medical conditions related to pregnancy;

  • The PDA's prohibition against requiring pregnant workers who are able to do their jobs to take leave;

  • The requirement that parental leave (which is distinct from medical leave associated with childbearing or recovering from childbirth) be provided to similarly situated men and women on the same terms;

  • When employers may have to provide reasonable accommodations for workers with pregnancy-related impairments under the ADA and the types of accommodations that may be necessary; and

  • Best practices for employers to avoid unlawful discrimination against pregnant workers.

With the issuance of this new guidance, the EEOC is alerting all employers that the rules for dealing with pregnant employees in the workplace are changing. 

Consequently, employers need to consider that reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees, even without any medical complications, may need to be made.

See attached links for more information about the guidance and a Fact Sheet for Small Businesses:

http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/pregnancy_qa.cfm

http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/pregnancy_factsheet.cfm

This article is designed to provide general information and is not a substitute for legal advice.

Tags: ADA, PDA, Compliance, EEOC, Pregnancy Discrimination