The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions constitutes unlawful sex discrimination under Title VII, which covers employers with 15 or more employees.
Pregnant women must be treated in the same manner as other applicants or employees with similar abilities or limitations. The Pregnancy Discrimination act prohibits employers from refusing to hire a pregnant woman because of the pregnancy or conditions of pregnancy.
If you are facing pregnancy discrimination, do not hesitate to contact our Miami employment law attorneys for more information.
What Does this Mean for My Job?
An employer may not single out pregnancy conditions for special procedures to determine an employee's ability to work. However, if an employer requires its employees to submit a doctor's statement concerning their inability to work before granting leave or paying sick benefits, the employer may require employees affected by pregnancy-related conditions to submit such statements. If an employee is temporarily unable to perform her job due to pregnancy, the employer must treat the employee the same as any other temporarily disabled employee.
In addition, the Act protects employees by:
- Ensuring that pregnant employees must be permitted to work as long as they are able to perform their jobs
- Not requiring an employee to remain on leave until the baby's birth if an employee has been absent from work as a result of a pregnancy-related condition and recovers
- An employer may not have a rule that prohibits an employee from returning to work for a predetermined length of time after childbirth
- Employers must hold open a job for a pregnancy-related absence the same length of time jobs are held open for employees on sick or disability leave
Am I Entitled to Benefits?
If an employer provides any benefits to workers on leave, the employer must provide the same benefits for those on leave for pregnancy-related conditions. Employees with pregnancy-related disabilities must be treated the same as other temporarily disabled employees for accrual and crediting of seniority, vacation calculation, pay increases, and temporary disability benefits.
An employer cannot retaliate against an individual for opposing employment practices that discriminate based on pregnancy (filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in a proceeding under the PDA). (Participation means taking part in an employment discrimination proceeding. Participation is protected activity even if the proceeding involved claims that ultimately were found to be invalid).