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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission updates call for light-duty considerations for pregnant workers

GableGotwals’ Timothy A. Carney discusses the recent updates to the pregnancy discrimination policies of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
by Paula Burkes Published: July 29, 2014

Q&A with Timothy Carney

Employers get update for their pregnancy workplace policies

Q: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently updated its policies related to pregnancy discrimination. Why is this significant?

A: This is the first comprehensive update on this issue in more than three decades. It’s important that employers review their pregnancy-related policies and procedures to ensure they comply with these updates.

Q: What areas of pregnancy discrimination do these updates cover?

A: The updates include changes to EEOC policies that prohibit discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth and their related medical conditions. The EEOC also touches on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and how it applies to disabilities related to pregnancy. Some have argued that the EEOC has overstepped its authority in issuing the new policy guidance in more than one respect. For instance, the guidance indicates that employers should provide pregnant workers with light-duty positions if they provide light duty for other employees who are similar in their ability or inability to work. But this issue is one that is currently in dispute on a federal level and one that will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in its next term in Young v. United Parcel Service.

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by Paula Burkes
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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