Facts About Pregnancy Discrimination
People affected by pregnancy or related conditions must be treated in the same manner as other applicants or employees with similar abilities or limitations. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions constitutes unlawful sex discrimination under Title VII.
An employer cannot refuse to hire a person because of their pregnancy or pregnancy-related condition as long as the applicant is able to perform the major functions of their job. An employer cannot refuse to hire a pregnant person because of its prejudices against pregnant workers or the prejudices of co-workers, clients, or customers.
Pregnancy and Maternity Leave
An employer may not single out pregnancy-related conditions for special procedures to determine an employee's ability to work. However, an employer may use any procedure used to screen other employees' ability to work. For example, if an employer requires its employees to submit a doctor's statement concerning their inability to work before granting leave or paying sick benefits, the employer may require employees affected by pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions to submit such statements.
If an employee is temporarily unable to perform their job due to pregnancy, the employer must treat that employee the same as any other temporarily disabled employee. For example, under such circumstances, an employee must provide modified tasks, alternative assignments, disability leave, or leave without pay to accommodate a pregnant employee.
Pregnant employees must be permitted to work as long as they are able to perform their jobs. If an employee has been absent from work as a result of a pregnancy or pregnancy-related condition and recovers, their employer may not require them to remain on leave until the baby's birth. An employer may not have a rule which prohibits an employee from returning to work for a predetermined length of time after childbirth.
Employers must hold open a job for a pregnancy-related absence the same length of time jobs are held open for employees on sick or disability leave.
Any health insurance provided by an employer must cover expenses for pregnancy-related conditions on the same basis as costs for other medical conditions. Health insurance for expenses arising from abortion is not required, except where the life of the person carrying the child is endangered.
Pregnancy-related expenses should be reimbursed exactly as those incurred for other medical conditions, whether payment is on a fixed basis or a percentage of reasonable and customary charge basis.
The amounts payable by the insurance provider can be limited only to the same extent as costs for other conditions. No additional, increased, or larger deductible can be imposed.
Employers must provide the same level of health benefits for spouses of employees, regardless of an employee's gender.
Pregnancy-related benefits cannot be limited to married employees. In an all-female workforce or job classification, benefits must be provided for pregnancy-related conditions if benefits are provided for other medical conditions.
If an employer provides any benefits to workers on leave, the employer must provide the same benefits for those on leave for pregnancy-related conditions.
Employees with pregnancy-related disabilities must be treated the same as other temporarily disabled employees for accrual and crediting of seniority, vacation calculation, pay increases, and temporary disability benefits.
Hiring an Employment Attorney
Employment laws are constantly changing, especially surrounding the area of pregnancy discrimination. Contact a local employment attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the federal and state laws you are researching.
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