Pregnancy Discrimination covers more than pregnancy, says EEOC
The EEOC has issued guidance on pregnancy discrimination that broadens protections for workers and risks for untutored employers. The EEOC states in that guidance that:
- 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.
“Best Practices” listed by the EEOC include the following:
- Leave related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions can be limited to women affected by those conditions. Parental leave must be provided to similarly situated men and women on the same terms.
- Protect against unlawful harassment. Adopt and disseminate a strong anti-harassment policy that incorporates information about pregnancy-related harassment; periodically train employees and managers on the policy’s contents and procedures; incorporate into the policy and training information about harassment of breastfeeding employees; vigorously enforce the anti-harassment policy.