Published on July 15, 2014

PERSONNEL MATTERS: EEOC updates pregnancy-related workplace rights

By Judy Greenwald, Crain News Service

WASHINGTON (July 15, 2014) — The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued its first enforcement guidance since 1983 regarding pregnancy discrimination.

The agency said its guide is the first comprehensive update of its guidance on the subject of discrimination against pregnant workers since the 1983 publication of a compliance manual chapter on the subject. It supersedes that document and incorporates significant developments in the law during the past 30 years, the agency said.

In addition to addressing the requirements of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, the guidance discusses the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended in 2008, to individuals who have pregnancy-related disabilities, the EEOC said. It said much of the analysis in the enforcement guidance is an update of longstanding EEOC policy.

Among the issues covered in the guidance are the fact that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act 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, and the circumstances under which employers may have to provide light duty for pregnant workers, among others.

The guidance is available at the EEOC’s website.

The agency also issued a question-and-answer document and a fact sheet for small businesses on the topic.

The commission held a public meeting on the issue in February 2012. At that hearing, the commission was told employers could use some further guidance on how to comply with various federal leave and disability laws, including the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

This report appeared on the website of Business Insurance magazine, a Chicago-based sister publication of Tire Business.

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