In 1983, their proud parents welcomed Carrie Underwood, Jonah Hill, Gabourey Sidibe and Aaron Rodgers into this world. And those are just four of the 125 million or so U.S. pregnancies that resulted in live births between 1983 and mid-2014.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has been far less productive when it comes to pregnancy issues. After publishing a chapter on its compliance manual in 1983, the EEOC has approached the subject of pregnancy discrimination in a piecemeal fashion.
That all changed Monday, when the EEOC issued its new Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues. A Q&A document and Fact Sheet are also available.
“This is the first comprehensive update of the Commission’s guidance on the subject of discrimination against pregnant workers since the 1983 publication of a Compliance Manual chapter on the subject,” EEOC said in announcing the update. “This guidance supersedes that document and incorporates significant developments in the law during the past 30 years.”
For example, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act had only been around for five years in 1983. The Americans with Disabilities Act would not be passed until 1990, and was significantly amended in 2008. (While pregnancy itself is not a disability, the ADA applies to pregnancy-related disabilities.)
Among the topics covered in the new guidance:
- The circumstances under which employers may have to provide light duty for pregnant workers;
- Issues related to leave for pregnancy and for medical conditions related to pregnancy;
- The PDA’s prohibition against requiring pregnant workers who are able to do their jobs to take leave;
- Best practices for employers to avoid unlawful discrimination against pregnant workers.
The guidance follows a public meeting in February 2012 and public comments received in connection with the meeting, EEOC notes.
There’s no indication of why the long-overdue update was issued now, but pregnancy discrimination has certainly been a hot topic since the Supreme Court agreed to hear Peggy Young v. United Parcel Service — the case involving a Landover-based driver for UPS — next term.
For more on Young v. UPS and Maryland’s response to it, click here.