- The Law: The Pregnancy Discrimination Act is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It outlaws discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Pregnant women must be treated in the same manner (hiring, firing, discipline, etc.) as other applicants or employers with similar abilities or limitations.
- Hiring: An employer is cannot refuse to hire a woman because of pregnancy as long as she is able to perform the major functions of her job. Evaluations and decisions relating to the ability of a pregnant woman to perform her job should be left to ergonomics and medical professionals.
- Maternity Leave: Maternity leave must provide the same opportunities as other types of medical leave. Pregnant employees must be permitted to work as long as they are able to perform their jobs. An employer may not prohibit an employee from returning to work for predetermined length of time after childbirth.
- Other Factors:
- If an employee is temporarily unable to perform her job due to pregnancy, the employer must treat her like an other temporarily disabled employee by providing modified tasks, alternative assignments, light duty, disability leave or leave without pay.
- Employer cannot request a doctor’s statement inability to work due to pregnancy unless employer requests same from other employees on medical leave.
- Employers cannot require use of vacation benefits before receiving sick pay or disability benefits unless ALL temporarily disabled employees are required to do the same.
- If paid leave is provided for employees with other disabilities, the employer must provide pregnant employees with paid leave for actual disability due to pregnancy and related childbirth conditions.
- Time restrictions placed on pregnancy-related leave (not to exceed three months) must be reasonable and job-related or it may be illegal.
- Employers must hold open a job for a pregnancy-related absence for the same length of time jobs are held open for employees on sick or disability leave.
- Reimbursement for pregnancy-related health conditions must occur exactly in the same manner as other health conditions such as coinsurance.
- Health insurance plans must provide coverage for pregnancy-related conditions on the same basis as other medical conditions. Coverage for expenses arising from abortion is not required, except where the life of the mother is endangered.
- Employers must provide the same level of health benefits for spouses of male employees as they do for spouses of female employees.
Tim Dimoff, Speaker, National Expert, Author: