EPL: Pregnancy Discrimination
EPL Pregnancy in the Workplace
Pregnancy-related employment practices liability (EPL) claims are on the rise. And due to the fact that pregnancy discrimination is becoming so prevalent, some states have enacted statutes that expand a pregnant woman’s rights. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), doesn’t consider pregnancy workplace discrimination yet, but there’s talk that will likely change after a large case between UPS and a pregnant employee.
According to CNN, a pregnant woman who worked for UPS as a driver was denied accommodations to not lift anything heavier than 20 pounds. However, they accommodated other employees with disabilities who were also not able to do heavy lifting.
The case was brought to the Supreme Court and during trial, UPS decided to begin allowing extra accommodations for pregnant women who may not be able to do the full workload that their job requires. The fact that more and more cases are appearing with similar context will most likely lead to a change in the ADA. Some states are making a move towards expanding the rights of a pregnant woman.
Examples of some of these rights include:
- The employer may not make job decisions based on an employee’s pregnancy
- The employer must treat employees who are temporarily unable to work due to pregnancy the same as employees who are temporarily disabled
- The employer must provide reasonable accommodations
- Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, the employee is entitled to time off work
However, the employer has a right to policies and questioning. Some of their rights include:
- Requesting medical justification for the accommodation such as a doctor’s note/opinion
- Inquiring if the accommodation is reasonable or not
- Asking how long the accommodation has to be in place
Both parties are entitled to rights in the situation of a pregnancy discrimination case. However, the employer will most likely not be the favored party in the case if they don’t practice proper employment practices related to pregnancy in the workplace. In order to avoid pregnancy related claims it’s important for the employer to ensure that their policies are up to date and educate themselves on what does and doesn’t constitute as pregnancy discrimination.
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