Pregnancy Discrimination

Pregnancy discrimination involves treating an applicant or employee unfavorably because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth.  The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) forbids discrimination based on pregnancy when it comes to 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.

 If a woman is temporarily unable to perform her job due to a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth, the employer must treat her in the same way as it treats any other temporarily disabled employee.   For example, the employer may have to provide light duty, alternative assignments, disability leave, or unpaid leave to pregnant employees if it does so for other temporarily disabled employees. Additionally, impairments resulting from pregnancy like gestational diabetes or preeclampsia may be disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act that require accommodation.

 Thus, an employer may have to provide a reasonable accommodation for a disability related to pregnancy, absent undue hardship.

 An employer may not single out pregnancy-related conditions for special procedures to determine an employee’s ability to work.

 Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a new parent (including foster and adoptive parents) may be eligible for 12 weeks of leave (unpaid or paid if the employee has earned or accrued it) that may be used for care of the new child.   To be eligible, the employee must have worked for the employer for 12 months prior to taking the leave, work at least 1.250 hours and the employer must have at least 50 employees in a 75 mile radius.