Showing posts with label pregnancy discrimination. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pregnancy discrimination. Show all posts

Thursday, May 16, 2024

This is why you should never give a pass to any employee misconduct

A law firm fires its HR Manager a mere days before she is set to return to work from maternity leave. It says it fired her for "cause," citing numerous performance related examples, including her alleged mismanagement of the firm's health-benefits enrollment.

The problem for the law firm, however, is that it allegedly discovered those performance issues months before the termination and sat on them until the employee was ready to return from her maternity leave.

That timing was enough for the court to deny the law firm's motion for summary judgment on her pregnancy discrimination claim.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

EEOC makes is clear that the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act covers unpaid time off for abortions

From this point forward, if an employee needs an unpaid leave of absence to obtain and recover from an abortion, you better give it her. I realize this topic is divisive, but this issue is no longer subject to debate.

Earlier this week, the EEOC published its final regulations implementing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. Pre-publication, agency considered 94,000 comments urging it either to exclude or include "abortion" from the Act's definition of "pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions." The EEOC chose the latter. Here's why.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

IVF discrimination = sex discrimniation

With in vitro fertilization all over the news for the past week, it's time for this important public service announcement — IVF discrimination = sex discrimination.

Courts have long held that Title VII's definition of "sex" (as expanded by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act) unequivocally includes infertility treatments.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Pumping up employee lactation rights

Employers, hear to me now and believe me later — it is unacceptable to force a lactating employee to pump her breast milk in an open stockroom corner or in an open office.

That's precisely, however, what two McDonald's employees allege happened to them in two different stores.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Does it matter where you place an employee’s lactation space? (tl;dr: yes.)

An employee works as a speech-language pathologist in a large, metropolitan school district, traveling between two elementary schools and a high school. After giving birth, she requests a private space for lactation within each assigned school. The school district agrees, but the private space it provides to her in the high school was on a different floor than her work area.

Is this legal? Did this employer meet is legal obligations regarding the provision of a "private lactation space?"

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Not all reasonable accommodation standards are created equally

Consider this example, and then let's talk.

Lydia works as a cellar person in a brewery. The essential functions of her job include the ability to lift up to 40 lbs. and to move kegs that weigh as much as 160 lbs. She delivers a note from her doctor that says, "No lifting or moving more than 10 pounds."

What are this employer's obligations to offer her a reasonable accommodation for her lifting and moving restrictions? It depends on the medical reason.

Monday, August 14, 2023

Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and pregnancy loss

Missy, a newly hired server in the taproom of a brewery, suffers a miscarriage and asks her manager for ten days of leave to recover. As a new employee, Missy has not yet accrued any paid leave. The employer is too small to be covered by the FMLA and does not have a policy providing any unpaid leave.

Must the brewery grant Missy her requested ten days of post-miscarriage leave?

Historically, the answer could have been no.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Is your business prepared for the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act?

Consider the following scenarios:
  • A pregnant employee has already used her annual allotment of FMLA leave and has no FMLA leave available to use for any reason.
  • A pregnant employee has worked for you less than one year and therefore does not qualify for FMLA leave.
  • You have fewer than 50 employees and therefore none of your employees, including your pregnant employees, qualify for FMLA leave.

Now consider a pregnant employee in any of these three situations who needs a leave of absence for the employee's limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. What are your legal obligations?

Thursday, January 5, 2023

While I was away, Congress pumped life into workplace rights of pregnant employees and new moms

Two laws — the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act — took effect when President Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act just before Christmas.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

EEOC Commissioner targets companies offering employees abortion travel benefits

In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization that ended federal constitutional protections for abortions as a fundamental right, many employers in states in which abortions suddenly became illegal started offering employees out of state travel benefits for abortion access.

Now, not even five months later, Bloomberg Law reports that Republican EEOC Commissioner Andrea Lucas has launched targeted discrimination investigations against at least three of those companies. 

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Correlation isn’t necessarily causation … except when it is

According to a recently filed EEOC lawsuit, Dollar General violated Title VII by firing a sales employee because of her pregnancy. More to the point, Dollar General, the EEOC alleges, fired her immediately after she advised her manager of her pregnancy. It listed "health" as the reason for her termination on her separation notice, after advising her of concerns for her safety.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Pre-employment pregnancy testing?

I was tagged on Twitter to address this situation.

My friend did a drug test for a part time job for the local school district. When she got her results, she found out that the district also did a pregnancy test. Besides ethical issues, this seems like a legal red flag given she wasn't told this would be done.
The OP added that her friend's spouse (male) did the same screening for the same employer, but no pregnancy test.

If it looks illegal, and it smells illegal, then it's illegal. Let's examine why.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Walmart wins discrimination claim brought on behalf of pregnant employees unable to work

Consider the following two policies:

  • Employees injured on the job will be offered Temporary Alternative Duty ("TAD") — light duty that enables the injured workers to keep working and earning their full wages while complying with any relevant medical restrictions.
  • Pregnant employees with lifting or other physical restrictions related to pregnancy are required to go on an unpaid leave of absence, and no TAD is or will be made available.

In EEOC v. Walmart Stores East, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that despite the existence of the former, the latter did not discriminate against Walmart's pregnant employees.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Abortion travel benefits don’t discriminate against non-abortion-seeking pregnant workers

Within hours of the Supreme Court releasing its opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and reversing Roe v. Wade, DICK'S Sporting Goods announced that it will provide up to $4,000 in travel expense reimbursement for an employee, spouse, or dependent enrolled in its medical plan (plus one support person) to travel to the nearest location where abortion care is legally available. 

Last week, America First Legal, an ultra-conservative non-profit legal group run by "patriots" such as Stephen Miller and Mark Meadows, filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission asking the agency to conclude that DICK'S offering of abortion travel benefits discriminates against female employees who choose to give birth. According to America First Legal Senior Counselor and Director of Oversight Reed D. Rubinstein, "Subsidizing travel for an abortion, while denying an equivalent benefit to a mother welcoming a new baby, is perverse and unlawful."

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

“Abortion discrimination” = illegal pregnancy discrimination … even after Dobbs

Is it legal to fire an employee who has an abortion? This is question that a lot of employers and employees will now be asking in light of the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that that there is no constitutional right to abortion.

As controversial and divisive of an issue as abortion is (perhaps now more than ever), the law is clear that an employer cannot fire an employee for having one. Nothing the Supreme Court did in Dobbs changes this.

Monday, June 27, 2022

The best response to the end of Roe v. Wade came from a company called DICK’S

Within hours of the Supreme Court announcing its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Lauren Horbart, the President and CEO of DICK'S Sporting Goods, posted the following on LinkedIn.
At DICK’S, our teammates are the heart of our business, and we are committed to protecting their health and well-being.… 
In response to today's ruling, we are announcing that if a state one of our teammates lives in restricts access to abortion, DICK'S Sporting Goods will provide up to $4,000 in travel expense reimbursement to travel to the nearest location where that care is legally available. This benefit will be provided to any teammate, spouse or dependent enrolled in our medical plan, along with one support person.

We recognize people feel passionately about this topic -- and that there are teammates and athletes who will not agree with this decision. However, we also recognize that decisions involving health and families are deeply personal and made with thoughtful consideration. We are making this decision so our teammates can access the same health care options, regardless of where they live, and choose what is best for them.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Pumping up workplace lactation rights

The U.S. Department of Labor has reached a settlement with Labcorp over allegations that it failed to provide lactating employees a space for them to express milk privately without fear of intrusion.

The investigation stemmed from an allegation of one employee in the company's Lynwood, California, location. DOL investigators determined that when the employee asked for a private place to express her breast milk, supervisors offered a common space that resulted in her being interrupted twice. As result, and per its settlement with the DOL, Labcorp has agreed, for all of its 2,000-plus locations nationwide, to "provide a private space as required with a notification on the door to guarantee an intrusion-free space."

Thursday, February 4, 2021

No, you don’t get to keep your paid leave after your position is eliminated

The headline reads, "Trump aides made a late request to Team Biden to extend their parental leave. They said no." Here's the story:
[A] number of ex-Trump political officials … lost their parental leave when Joe Biden was sworn into office. It's a byproduct of the field they're in: Their boss (the president) may have been the one let go, but his departure has meant that they, too, lose their jobs and benefits. Still, they argue that the Biden administration should have honored their leave by keeping them on payroll until the end of it — a request that … the Biden transition did not grant.
One such employee, Vanessa Ambrosini, welcomed a new baby the week before Christmas, and was looking forward to parental leave through mid to late March. "I got completely screwed," she says.

No, Vanessa, you didn't. What you got was unemployed, a fact of which you should have been well aware since at least November 7. In fact, you should have been aware of it for more than a month before you started your maternity leave. It seems to me these employees are trying to take advantage of the consequences of which they were well aware in an attempt to make the new administration look bad. I don't buy it.

Monday, January 13, 2020

CBS News misrepresents an employer’s obligation to accommodate an employee’s pregnancy

I watched with great interest yesterday story on CBS Sunday Morning about an employer’s obligation to accommodate an employee’s pregnancy. The report told the stories of various women who lost their jobs because their employers refused to reasonably accommodate their pregnancies, all in the context of a call to pass a federal law mandating reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers.

According to CBS News: “[U]nder the current federal law, while employers are prohibited from firing or refusing to hire pregnant workers, they aren’t always required to make any on-the-job accommodations, such as offering more bathroom breaks or temporary desk jobs.”

That statement, however, distorts and undersells the current state of the law.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Why are so many employers discriminating against lactating moms?

Women were told to pump in their manager’s office or a meeting room without locks, where they were walked in on repeatedly. Many had to pump in view of security cameras. In two separate cases, restaurant workers were instructed to pump behind the bread racks, leaving them partly visible to colleagues and customers. 
Those who do find an appropriate space often don’t receive the time they need to fully empty their breasts. A McDonald’s worker was yelled at and ordered to return to work before she was done pumping. A Family Dollar worker asked for more time to pump and got demoted to part-time. A spa employee was required to sign a piece of paper agreeing that she wouldn’t take any more breaks. Her inability to pump caused her to leak milk from her breasts while she worked.
These are just a few of the stories of discrimination against lactating moms the Huffington Post recently shared. These employers are likely violating both Title VII (which would prohibit employers from denying breaks to these moms while granting breaks to others), and the Affordable Care Act (which specifically requires employers to provide lactation breaks).