EEOC Updates Pregnancy Discrimination Guidelines

The EEOC has issued a July 2014 update to its Pregnancy Discrimination Enforcement Guidelines – the first such update in nearly three decades.  ( See EEOC Pregnancy Discrimination Guidelines  http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/pregnancy_guidance.cfm )   Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate on the basis of one’s pregnancy.  Most notably, the new Guidelines seek to expand protection for pregnant employees by proposing to treat certain physical limitations associated with pregnancy as disabilities under the American with Disabilities Act.  Such characterization, when appropriate under the ADA, compels employers to offer reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees, provided they remain able to perform the essential functions of their employment position.   The Guidelines likewise address subjects such as benefits, leave, fertility treatment, and contraception in the context of potentially discriminatory action.