“The guidance for employers released by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today provides a much-needed interpretation of the nation’s laws banning discrimination based on pregnancy. By clarifying existing legal protections and defining best practices for businesses in complying with these laws, this new guidance is a powerful tool in the effort to eradicate the unlawful and unequal treatment of pregnant women in the workplace.
We applaud the EEOC for its comprehensive analysis of the protections afforded by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as amended, and for its clear guidance for both employees and employers on how their provisions and amendments should be interpreted. In particular, we are pleased that the EEOC makes undeniably clear that pregnant workers with temporary physical limitations must be treated the same as workers with similar limitations, including with regard to light duty, leave, health insurance, and retirement benefits and seniority. And that it reminds employers and employees that instances of discrimination based on caregiving responsibilities can violate the law.
Despite existing protections, pregnancy discrimination remains a serious problem for women and families in this country. We commend the EEOC for making it a priority. This guidance is consistent with the EEOC’s longstanding reading of the law and was issued after more than two years of review and analysis, including notice of pregnancy accommodations as an enforcement priority, a public meeting and many stakeholder meetings. It marks an important step forward that will help millions while advancing our nation’s commitment to equal opportunity.”
The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at www.NationalPartnership.org.