July 23, 2014. Discrimination based on pregnancy has long been prohibited by federal and state laws, beginning with the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently announced an update on rules on how businesses are to treat pregnant employees, something it has not done in thirty years. Read more HERE. Here are the takeaways from the EEOC update:
- Businesses may be required to give a pregnant worker light duty
- Employers may not force a pregnant employee to take leave if she can continue to work
- Lactation is characterized as a pregnancy-related condition. Companies are required to provide flexibility in a worker’s schedule and a private place for the employee.
- Employers who provide for parental leave for new mothers must give equal treatment to new fathers
The EEOC’s policy clarification is a response to the rise in complaints of workplace discrimination based on pregnancy, which jumped 46% from 1997 to 2011. Pregnant workers may also be eligible for the Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows up to 12 weeks of leave for eligible workers, and protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act. In addition, the Equal Pay Act covers wage differentiation between men and women. Each of these federal laws have different thresholds for the number of employees required for coverage under the law. For instance, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act covers employers of fifteen or more employees, while the Family and Medical Leave Act applies when a business has fifty or more employees. State laws will vary state-to-state on their applicability and impact as well.
For more information regarding protection for pregnant workers, contact the Goosmann Law Firm at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 712-226-4000.
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