Issued July 24, 2014, the EEOC Compliance Manual Report No. 210 discusses the EEOC’s recently released updated guidance on pregnancy discrimination and related issues including pregnancy and the ADA, the FMLA, and a section on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) requirement that employers provide “reasonable break time” for nursing mothers. HR professionals should review the updated guidance and incorporate the EEOC’s recommendations where necessary to reduce the likelihood of violations should the EEOC come knocking at the door.
The EEOC released its Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues, along with a question and answer document about the guidance, and a Fact Sheet for Small Businesses on July 14th. Compliance Manual Report No. 210 notes the new guidance addresses both the requirements of the PDA and the ADA, as amended for individuals who have pregnancy-related disabilities, and lays out the fundamental PDA requirements: An employer may not discriminate against an employee based on pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions; and women affected by pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions must be treated the same as other persons similar in their ability or inability to work. The guidance also explains how the ADA’s definition of “disability” might apply to workers with impairments related to pregnancy.
EEOC Best Practices
Report No. 210 discusses “best practices” in light of enforcement guidance. According to the Report, the EEOC offered several recommendations for employers, including that they:
- -Develop, disseminate, and enforce a strong policy based on the requirements of the PDA and the ADA. The policy should address the types of conduct that could constitute unlawful discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions, and provide multiple avenues of complaint.
- -Train managers and employees regularly regarding their rights and responsibilities related to pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions.
- -Review relevant federal, state, and local laws and regulations, including Title VII as amended by the PDA, the ADA, and the FMLA, as well as relevant employer policies.
- -Conduct employee surveys and review employment policies and practices to identify and correct any policies or practices that may disadvantage women who are affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, or that may perpetuate the effects of historical discrimination within the organization.
- -Respond to pregnancy discrimination complaints efficiently and effectively. Investigate complaints promptly and thoroughly, taking corrective action and implementing corrective and preventive measures as necessary to resolve the situation and prevent future problems.
- -Protect applicants and employees from retaliation. Provide clear and credible assurances that if applicants or employees internally or externally report discrimination or provide information related to discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, the employer will protect them from retaliation. Make sure that anti-retaliation measures are enforced.
For more information on the new guidance and what it provides, please contact Joe Spitzzeri , co-chair of Johnson & Bell's Employment Group.