New Guidance on the Pregnancy Discrimination Act

Aug 4

Written by:
8/4/2014 9:37 AM  RssIcon

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has recently issued new guidance on the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). The PDA was initially enacted in 1978, but has been somewhat neglected with the most recent formal guidance issued in 1983.

In the new guidance, the EEOC has in some respects expanded the scope of the parity requirements under the PDA. In particular, the EEOC now addresses how accommodations offered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) establish a precedent by which accommodations must also be offered under the PDA. For example, if an employer offers light duty assignments or unpaid leave as accommodations under the ADA, they may also be required to offer similar options to pregnant employees, even when the pregnancy wouldn’t otherwise meet the definition of “disability” under the ADA.

The new guidance also clears up a longstanding ambiguity regarding FMLA. While previous informal guidance from the EEOC alluded that an FMLA covered employer may be required to offer FMLA-like leave to a pregnant employee who hadn’t satisfied the 1 year and 1250 hour service requirement, the new guidance explicitly states that an employer is not required to extend FMLA like benefits under the PDA. However, employers often have other formal or informal leave practices that could trigger the parity requirement under the PDA.

The full guidance can be found here.


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