The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) recently issued an Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination. (http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/pregnancy_guidance.cfm). The Guidance doesn’t offer new laws or protections for employees; rather, it gives a good discussion of the law and provides examples that are useful when addressing issues related to pregnant employees.
What You Need To Know. The most important thing you can learn from the Guidance is that an employer should not make assumptions about what a pregnant employee can and cannot do. The employee should initiate any discussion about job changes. The Guidance is clear that pregnancy should be treated like any other medical condition that could affect an employee’s ability to work. If a pregnant employee requests changes to her job or schedule to accommodate her pregnancy, the employer is allowed to request a medical note justifying the request. But, if the request is medically necessary, the employer must make reasonable accommodations to the woman’s job in order to accommodate her pregnancy and allow her to keep working. Only if the pregnant employee is having clear trouble performing her job, should the employer ask if she needs an accommodation.
Here are some examples of issues that might arise when managing a pregnant employee: Continue reading