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Earlier this month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued new Enforcement Guidance applicable to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), concerning pregnancy-related conditions.  Pregnancy discrimination implicates both the PDA and ADA as well as other federal and New York statutes.

The PDA was enacted in 1978 to clarify that discrimination based upon pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions constitutes sex discrimination, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII).  Generally, under the PDA, employers are required to treat women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions the same as other applicants or employees with respects to all aspects of employment.

The ADA does not consider pregnancy to be a disability, although pregnant employees may have impairments related to their pregnancies that qualify as disabilities under the ADA.  Following 2008 amendments to the ADA, it is much easier for an employee to demonstrate that an impairment rises to the level of a statutory disability.  Thus, under the ADA, reasonable accommodations must be given to employees who suffer from a pregnancy-related disability.