EEOC Issues Revised Pregnancy Guidance

Document created by 1002028 on Jul 12, 2015Last modified by 1002028 on Jul 13, 2015
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Pat Rountree.jpgThe EEOC has issued an update to its 2014 Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and related Issues.  This update essentially provides that employers must treat/accommodate pregnant employees as they would similarly situated non-pregnant employees with matters relating to the Pregnancy Disability Act (PDA).

  This update follows the Young vs UPS case in which a pregnant UPS truck driver was denied accommodation for her lifting restrictions because UPS reserved such light duty positions for drivers who were unable to perform their job because of an on-the-job injury, had temporarily lost their DOT certification, or  were covered under the ADA.  In this specific case, UPS argued that they did not discriminate against Young because she was pregnant; they applied the same standard to any driver who requested light duty but failed to fit the criteria. This case ultimately went to the Supreme Court, which ruled that the PDA requires employers to treat pregnant employees the same as any other (non-pregnant) employees similar in their ability or inability to work, unless they can show a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason (generally excluding inconvenience or that it creates greater expense).


In addition, along with the revised Guidance document, the EEOC has provided a Fact Sheet for Small Businesses on Pregnancy Discrimination,  and a Q&A document that provides information on the protection provided based on pregnancy, childbirth, past pregnancy, and caregiving under the PDA, ADA and FMLA.


According to the EEOC, the 2015 revision did not affect prior guidance on the following topics that carried over to the revised  document:

  • the PDA's application to current, past, and potential pregnancy;
  • termination or refusal to hire someone because she is pregnant and other prohibited employment actions based on pregnancy;
  • application of the PDA to lactation and breastfeeding;
  • prohibition of forced leave policies;
  • the obligation to treat women and men the same with respect to parental leave policies; and
  • access to health insurance.


Employers are encouraged to thoroughly review employment decisions that could have an adverse impact on pregnant employees before acting.  Please call our Advice & Resolution team today for guidance!