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The EEOC approves new guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination Act

July 16, 2014

On Monday, July 14, 2014, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued new enforcement guidelines under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as those statutes apply to pregnant employees. The guidelines, among other things, address discrimination, pregnancy leave, medical and health insurance issues. The guidelines can be found here. The guidelines also require employers to offer light duty to pregnant employees if the employer also makes light duty available to nonpregnant employees with similar work limitations if the pregnant employee requests light duty work and has a medical note supporting it. Significantly, the regulations expressly state that comparable light duty work includes light duty assignments for employees with injuries covered by workers’ compensation. Thus, if a company’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier requires an employee to be returned to a light duty position, a pregnant employee may be entitled to a similar light duty position under the guidelines.

The EEOC’s guidance comes just days after the U.S. Supreme Court decided to hear Young v. United Parcel Service, a case where a federal court of appeals ruled the PDA does not require employers to extend light duty as a reasonable accommodation to pregnant employees. The Supreme Court’s decision in Young could impact the enforcement of several of the new guidelines.

Honigman will continue to monitor developments in this area. If you have any questions about these newly issued guidelines or how they will affect your obligations under the PDA and ADA, please contact one of Honigman’s Labor and Employment attorneys.

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