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EEOC guidance updates pregnancy-related workplace rights


The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Monday issued its first enforcement guidance regarding pregnancy discrimination since 1983.

The agency said in a statement that its guide is the first comprehensive update of its guidance on the subject of discrimination against pregnant workers since the 1983 publication of a compliance manual chapter on the subject. It supersedes that document and incorporates significant developments in the law during the past 30 years, the agency said.

Ina addition to addressing the requirements of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, the guidance discusses the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended in 2008, to individuals who have pregnancy-related disabilities, the EEOC said. It said much of the analysis in the enforcement guidance is an update of longstanding EEOC policy.

Among the issues covered in the guidance are the fact that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act covers not only current pregnancy but discrimination based on past pregnancy and a woman's potential to become pregnant; lactation as a covered pregnancy-related medical condition, and the circumstances under which employers may have to provide light duty for pregnant workers, among others.

The guidance is available here. The agency also issued a question and answer document and a fact sheet for small businesses on the topic.

The commission held a public meeting on the issue in February 2012. At that hearing, the commission was told employers could use some further guidance on how to comply with various federal leave and disability laws, including the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.