EEOC Issues Updated Guidance Regarding Pregnant Employees Discusses Employer’s Obligation to Accommodate and Not Discriminate

On July 14, 2014 the EEOC issued its updated “Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues” (“Guidance”). The stated purpose of the Guidance is to provide information regarding the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) as they apply to pregnant employees. In addition to the new Guidance, the EEOC also issued a Q&A document and a Fact Sheet which both address the issues covered in the Guidance.

The Guidance summarizes the statutory protections for pregnant employees under the PDA and the ADA. The Guidance includes specific discussions of:

When employer actions may constitute unlawful discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions in violation of the PDA;
The obligation of employers under the PDA to provide pregnant workers equal access to benefits of employment such as leave, light duty, and health benefits; and
How Title I of the ADA (which went into effect over a decade after the PDA and was amended in 2008 to broaden the definition of disability) applies to individuals with pregnancy-related impairments.

The Guidance also discusses protections under various other laws like the FMLA, Executive Order 13152 which prohibits discrimination based on status as a parent, and certain state laws. It concludes with a section on best practices for employers. Copies of the Guidance, the Q&A document, and the Fact Sheet can be obtained at: