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EEOC Issues Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination


The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") recently issued new enforcement guidance on pregnancy discrimination and related issues (the "Guidance"). The new Guidance, the first to address pregnancy discrimination since 1983, contains a comprehensive view of the EEOC's position on the application and interpretation of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act ("PDA") and the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") with respect to the rights of workers to be financially and legally protected before, during, and after their pregnancies. 


The Guidance Seeks to Expand the Law to  

Enhance Protections for Those Workers

  • CLICK HERE to read the EEOC's Guidance in its entirety.
  • CLICK HERE for the Commission's Q&A regarding enforcement Guidance.
  • CLICK HERE for the Small Business Fact Sheet.



Summary of Guidance


Part I: The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) - PDA coverage, PDA-covered employment decisions and equal access to benefits

Part II: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) - Disability status and reasonable accommodations

Part III: Other Requirements Affecting Pregnant Workers - Other laws, such as the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Part IV: Best Practices - Suggestions for best practices an employer may adopt to reduce the chance of pregnancy-related PDA and ADA violations


Representative Details

  • Title VII, as amended by the PDA, prohibits discrimination based not only on current pregnancy, but also past pregnancy, potential or intended pregnancy, and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth, including lactation;
  • Employers are obligated to "treat a pregnant employee temporarily unable to perform the functions of her job the same as it treats other employees similarly unable to perform their jobs, whether by providing modified tasks, alternative assignments, leave, or fringe benefits";
  • Pregnant employees should be treated the same as employees injured on the job with respect to light duty;
  • Although pregnancy itself is not an impairment within the meaning of the ADA, and not a disability on its own, a wide range of pregnancy-related conditions may be considered disabilities under the ADA to which an employee may be entitled to reasonable accommodation;
  • Reasonable accommodations for pregnancy-related conditions or for limitations resulting from the interaction of the pregnancy with an underlying impairment include, among other things, redistributing marginal job functions, altering how an essential or marginal job function is performed, modified work schedules, modified workplace policies, granting leave, and temporary assignment to light duty.

While not binding, courts may look to the Guidance for instruction when interpreting pregnancy-related claims arising under the PDA, ADA and other relevant laws.  Notably, the Supreme Court is set to address the issue of "whether, and in what circumstances, an employer that provides work accommodations to non-pregnant employees with work limitations must provide work accommodations to pregnant employees who are 'similar in their ability or inability to work.' "  (Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc.) The Supreme Court's decision may impact the influence of the EEOC's Guidance on this issue going forward.


Employers are encouraged to read the Guidance and  

review their relevant policies and practices for impact.


Nukk-Freeman & Cerra is available to answer any questions

regarding the new Guidance and how it may affect your business.   


Please contact Katherin Nukk-Freeman or the  

Nukk-Freeman & Cerra, P.C. attorney with whom you normally work.


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