Pay Careful Attention to Pregnancy Accommodation Requests as EEOC Plans New Enforcement Guidance


The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission — the agency responsible for enforcing most federal discrimination laws — is preparing to issue new guidance addressing an employer’s obligation to reasonably accommodate pregnant workers. Will the guidance offer a new interpretation of the law or just cement what we already know? Probably the latter.

Quick Primer on the Relevant Statutory Law -

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, one of the laws the EEOC enforces, expanded the scope of the definition of “sex” discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include a prohibition against discrimination because of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. The PDA does not include a specific requirement that employers reasonably accommodate pregnant workers. But it does require employers to treat pregnant workers at least as well as non-pregnant workers who are similar in their inability to work. In other words, as the EEOC has stated, employers must treat employees who are temporarily unable to perform their job or certain functions of their job because of a condition related to their pregnancy the same way they treat any other temporarily disabled employees.

Originally published in ADA Compliance Guide on July 9, 2014.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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