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EEOC Facts about Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace

February 2, 2010

In a blog from last week, our Anaheim-based Employment Attorneys discussed the topic of pregnancy discrimination--after the settlement of a case involving a female security guard who was allegedly subjected to unlawful pregnancy discrimination, termination and retaliation in the workplace.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) was passed by Congress in 1978, as an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to protect pregnant women in the workplace from any aspect of discrimination when it comes to hiring, firing, pay, equal opportunity for job assignments, promotions, layoffs, fringe benefits, health insurance, or any other term or condition of employment.

Under Federal law, pregnant women, or women who have conditions related to pregnancy must receive the same fair treatment as other employees. Discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, medical conditions related to pregnancy, or childbirth constitutes unlawful sex discrimination under Title VII.

According to the EEOC, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act:

  • It is illegal for an employer to choose not to hire a woman who is pregnant due to her pregnancy or condition related to pregnancy, or based on any prejudice from co-workers, customers, or potential clients.
  • An employer cannot determine the work capability of an employee based on conditions related to pregnancy. An employer does have rights, however, to request doctor's statements before giving sick leave, or sick benefits to an employee who is unable to work.
  • Female employees who are unable to work temporarily due to pregnancy or conditions related to pregnancy must be treated in the same manner as other employees who are disabled temporarily.
  • Employers must permit pregnant employees to do their job, for as long as the employees are capable of performing their job.
  • When employees go on leave due to pregnancy, en employer must keep their jobs open for the period of time that jobs are kept open for workers who go on disability or sick leave.
  • Employer-provided Health insurance must pay the expenses for conditions related to pregnancy, just as they would cover other medical condition costs.
  • Benefits for pregnancy-related conditions should not only be available to employees who are married. If the employer offers health insurance benefits to the employee for other medical conditions, they must be also be available for conditions related to pregnancy.

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, retaliatation against an employee for opposing pregnancy-based discriminatory practices, registering a complaint, testifying against an employer, or being involved in litigation or an investigation, is against the law.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) covers employers with 15 or more employees, including local and state governments, as well as employment agencies, the federal government and labor organizations.

According to the EEOC, pregnancy discrimination is one of the fastest growing forms of discrimination in the workplace. According to the United States Department of Labor, in 2008, women comprised 46.5 % of the total U.S. Labor force and are projected to account for 49% of the increase in the total labor force growth between 2006 and 2016. In 2006, the EEOC handled 6,196 pregnancy discrimination claims with eventual monetary pay-outs that totaled $16.8 million.

Howard Law, PC protects worker's rights in pregnancy discrimination cases and other labor and employment issues in Los Angeles County, Orange County and throughout Southern California. Contact us today.

Pregnancy Discrimination Charges EEOC & FEPAs Combined: FY 1997- FY 2009, EEOC

Facts About Pregnancy Discrimination, EEOC

Pregnancy Discrimination, EEOC

Related Web Resources:

United States Department of Labor: Quick Stats on Women Workers 2008