EEOC Expands Protections for Pregnancy and Pregnancy-Related Conditions
The following article was written by Eileen Maguire, Esq., The Gilliland Law Firm, P.C.
On July 14, 2014, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued new Enforcement Guidance (the “Guidance”) that expands a female employee’s rights under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (the “PDA”). Pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions now encompass every aspect of the reproductive process, including conception (e.g., infertility treatment) and decisions not to conceive (e.g., contraceptives), pregnancy or termination of pregnancy (e.g., abortion), childbirth, and post-birth needs, including lactation and nursing.
EEOC also intends to scrutinize additional employment terms and conditions, including whether your agency’s health insurance benefits offer all available contraceptives and whether your agency treats applicants and employees claiming pregnancy-related impairments equal to applicants and employees claiming disabilities. EEOC justifies this expanded enforcement, in part, because employers are now subject to a number of new laws that were enacted after 1978 (when the PDA was enacted), such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, and its Amendments Act of 2008 (the “ADA”), the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Affordable Care Act.