On July 14, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission updated its guidance for the enforcement of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”). The PDA is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination because of pregnancy in any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, such as leave and health insurance, and any other term or condition of employment. The new guidance reflects the liberal approach the EEOC is taking with regard to gender discrimination and also its enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). The new guidance indicates that the Commission will broadly define when pregnancy related conditions qualify for protection under the ADA and takes the position that employers may need to offer pregnant employees temporary, light duty assignments, among other provisions.
While the guidance does not carry the force of law, employers can expect the Commission to take a more aggressive approach in its enforcement efforts, until and if the courts limit this more liberal enforcement approach.
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