Corporate Counsel Weekly™ helps corporate lawyers get the big picture on the legal challenges facing corporations today. Practitioners can discover trends on the horizon and stay alert to the full...
July 14 --Partly addressing issues pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission July 14 issued new enforcement guidance under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act that also covers possible workplace accommodation requirements.
The agency adopted the new guidance, which updates a 1983 EEOC Compliance Manual chapter on the PDA, by a 3-2 private vote. EEOC Chairman Jacqueline Berrien (D) and Commissioners Chai Feldblum (D) and Jenny Yang (D) approved the measure, while the two Republican commissioners, Constance Barker and Victoria Lipnic, opposed it.
Among other things, the new guidance says the PDA, a 1978 amendment to Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, requires employers to offer light duty to pregnant employees if they make light duty available to nonpregnant employees similar in their ability or inability to work.
On July 1, the Supreme Court in Young v. United Parcel Service Inc. agreed to review a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit decision that the PDA doesn't require employers to offer light duty to pregnant employees with work restrictions even if light duty is available for certain categories of nonpregnant employees.
The EEOC in February 2012 held a public meeting on pregnancy and caregiver discrimination, at which witnesses said bias against pregnant workers is still widespread. Some speakers called for updated agency guidance under both the PDA and the amended Americans with Disabilities Act.
“Despite much progress, we continue to see a significant number of charges alleging pregnancy discrimination…as well as the emergence of more subtle discriminatory practices,” Berrien said in a July 14 statement.
“This guidance will aid employers, job seekers, and workers in complying with the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, and thus advance EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan priority of addressing the emerging issue of the interaction between these two anti-discrimination statutes.”
Rae Vann, general counsel of the Equal Employment Advisory Council in Washington, which represents large employers, said she was “rather surprised” the EEOC would issue new guidance without seeking “any input or feedback” from the public on a draft beforehand.
Given the prospective Supreme Court decision under the PDA, it also “seems quite premature” for the EEOC to issue its enforcement guidance at this point, Vann told Bloomberg BNA July 14.
In a question-and-answer sheet issued along with the new enforcement guidance, the EEOC said the PDA requires an employer to offer temporary light duty to a pregnant employee with work restrictions if the employer provides such an accommodation to nonpregnant employees similar to the pregnant employee in their ability or inability to work.
An employer may not deny light duty to pregnant employees on the grounds that such an accommodation is only offered to workers injured on the job because a distinction based on source of impairment would violate the PDA, the EEOC said.
In its Q&A sheet, the EEOC said under some circumstances, employees with pregnancy-related impairments may be covered by the ADA.
The EEOC also issued a fact sheet for small businesses outlining the PDA's and ADA's requirements regarding pregnant employees.
To contact the reporter on this story: Kevin P. McGowan in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan J. McGolrick at firstname.lastname@example.org
Text of the EEOC's enforcement guidance is available at
The Q&A is available at
The fact sheet is available at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/pregnancy_factsheet.cfm.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)