The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently issued enforcement guidance on pregnancy discrimination and related issues, marking the first comprehensive update of the EEOC’s guidance on the subject in over 30 years. This guidance has been issued after several states and cities including New Jersey, New York City, and Philadelphia have passed laws regarding accommodations for pregnant employees. Importantly, the guidance incorporates significant developments in the law that have transpired over the past three decades and also sets forth suggestions for best practices for employers to adopt with the goal of reducing the chance of pregnancy-related violations of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Among other issues, the guidance addresses:
More specifically, with respect to light duty, the guidance provides that an employer is required to provide light duty, alternative assignments, disability leave, or unpaid leave to pregnant workers if it does so for other employees who are similar in their ability or inability to work.
In addition, the guidance identifies various pregnancy-related impairments that could qualify as disabilities under the ADA and further provides examples of reasonable accommodations that may be necessary, including:
Real-life examples are provided with respect to each of these potential accommodations.
Employers should carefully review any policies they have pertaining to reasonable accommodations with counsel, particularly as they may relate to pregnant employees. If you have questions about the enforcement guidance and your business, please contact: