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EEOC Issues New Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination


Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”), an employer cannot fire, refuse to hire, demote, or take any other adverse action against a woman if pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition was a motivating factor in the adverse employment action. The PDA prohibits discrimination with respect to all aspects of employment, including pay, job assignments, promotions, layoffs, training, and fringe benefits (such as leave and health insurance).

While the PDA does not require employers to provide women with physical limitations resulting from pregnancy to take leave, it does prohibit employers from imposing different leave requirements on pregnant employees than on employees who seek leave for other medical conditions.

In addition to the pregnancy protections of the PDA, employees may have rights under other laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”).

  • Under the PDA an employer cannot discriminate against an employee because of pregnancy.
  • Under the ADA an employer may be required to provide leave as a reasonable accommodation for employees with a pregnancy-related impairment that is a disability.
  • Under the FMLA an employer may be required to restore an employee to her original job or to an equivalent job following her return from FMLA leave.
  • Under the PPACA employers are required to provide reasonable break time and a private place for breastfeeding employees to express milk.