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

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).

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Accommodating pregnant employees is a legal floor, not a ceiling


UPS has agreed to pay $2.25 million to settle a pregnancy discrimination charge investigated by the EEOC. The agency was to consider whether UPS’s policy of providing light duty as an accommodation to employees injured on the job, but not to pregnant employees, violated Title VII. The policy the agency was investigating appears to predate the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Young v. UPS.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Government sanctioned discrimination is abhorrent and we, as a nation, should be ashamed


Trigger warning: today’s post is not for everyone. If, however, you are offended by what I am about to say, then today’s post is specifically for you.

Yesterday, the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, the federal agency that regulates and governs federal contractors and subcontractors, proposed regulations to clarify the scope and application of the religious exemption contained in section 204(c) of Executive Order 11246.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Parental discrimination claims pose big risks for employers


According to workingmother.com, More Parents Than Ever Are Suing Their Employers for Discrimination—and Winning. The article is right — parental discrimination claims (which are really just sex discrimination claims brought by working parents) are very dangerous for employers.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Abortion discrimination = pregnancy discrimination


Thanks to, among other states, Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio (sorry about that last one), the debate over abortion is raging. Suppose you are staunchly anti-abortion, and you learn that one of your employees is considering, or has had, an abortion. Can you fire her?

Thus far, three courts have looked at this issue, and all three courts have all reached the same conclusion.

No.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Do as they say, not as they do: employees accuse Planned Parenthood of pregnancy discrimination


According to a scathing report by The New York Times, employees nationwide are accusing Planned Parenthood of engaging in rampant pregnancy discrimination.

Some examples:

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Alex, I'll take leave of absence policies for $5.25 million.


A: An employer must have one of these to avoid running afoul of discrimination laws when an employee is out on a medical leave of absence.

Q: What is an open-ended leave of absence policy?

Two employers recently learned this lesson the hard way, care of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Abortion discrimination = pregnancy discrimination


Is there a more controversial topic than abortion? As controversial and divisive as it might be, the law is pretty clear that an employer cannot fire an employee for having one.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Training won't fix stupid


A fast-food restaurant fired a recently hired employee after its manager learned she was pregnant.

How do we know this was the manager's reason for the termination? Because he texted it to the employee (which she later posted on Facebook).

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The worst employer of 1969


1969. Woodstock. Abbey Road. The Moon Landing.

And pregnancy discrimination.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Maternity leave does not guarantee continued employment


By Grand Parc CC BY 2.0 via Wiki Commons
Michelle Bailey worked in the human resources department of Oakwood Healthcare. During her maternity leave, her immediate supervisor and others assumed her responsibilities, and discovered certain deficiencies in how she performed her job.

Discovery of those deficiencies led the supervisor to review Bailey’s qualifications as set forth in her employment application. That review, in turn, uncovered an application Bailey had submitted for a different position at Oakwood two years earlier. A comparison of Bailey’s two resumés on file lead to the conclusion that Bailey had falsified her later application by exaggerating her prior experience and qualifications.

That discovery, coupled with the performance deficiencies, caused Oakwood to terminate Bailey’s employment upon her return from maternity leave.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Hard to believe that overt pregnancy discrimination still exists … yet it does


Pregnancy discrimination has been unlawful under federal law since 1978. You’d think by now employers would have learned their lesson—that women should not have to choose between being pregnant and being employed. Yet, this recent story from the Washington Business Journal suggests otherwise.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Paternalism vs. pregnancy discrimination


Paternalism and pregnant workers do not mix. Case in point? According to this EEOC press release, the agency has sued a North Carolina retail-furniture franchise for pregnancy discrimination.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

EEOC on pregnancy-related limitations and restrictions at work


It’s been nearly a year since the EEOC updated its administrative guidance on pregnancy discrimination to account for the Supreme Court’s holding in Young v. UPS regarding an employer’s obligations to accommodate its pregnant workers.

In case the EEOC’s guidance is too dense for you to digest, the agency has chosen to commemorate its participation in the White House United State of Women Summit with the publication of two new pregnancy-related resources.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Maternity leave vs. “Me-ternity” Leave, and what it means for work-life balance


I read with great interest the following story in the New York Post, entitled, “I want all the perks of maternity leave — without having any kids.”

The story, written by Meghann Foye, a self-professed overworked, yet childless, woman in her mid-30s (and author of a recently published novel called “Meternity”), argues that all women deserve “me” time away from work, and that maternity leave shouldn’t be limited just to new moms.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Ohio introduces unnecessary pregnancy legislation


Last week, the Pregnancy Reasonable Accommodation Act (S.B. 301) [pdf] was introduced in the Ohio Senate. The bill seeks to raise pregnancy to the level of a protected disability.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Reminder: You cannot decide when a pregnant employee can and cannot work


The EEOC recently announced that it has filed suit against a Texas home healthcare company for terminating a pregnant employee. The EEOC describes the key allegations:

EEOC charges in its suit, that Zanna Clore was told to obtain a doctor’s note after the employer learned of her pregnancy. Shortly thereafter, Clore provided Your Health Team with a release from her physician stating Clore could perform all job duties with the only limitation being that she should not lift or pull more than 25 lbs. Despite the medical release to work, the employer terminated her employment just minutes after she furnished the required note.

EEOC regional attorney Robert A. Canino sums up everything that is (allegedly) wrong with this employer’s action:

As a society, we should have already evolved well beyond the old-school thinking that a pregnant worker must be excluded from the workplace. Fortunately, the highest court in the land, in Young v. UPS, recently emphasized the employer’s responsibility to accommodate pregnant employees and thereby avoid discrimination against working women.

When an employee informs you that she is pregnant, your decision is not whether to fire her, but instead whether she can perform the essential duties of her job during her pregnancy. If she has physical limitations because of her pregnancy, you must accommodate her on the same terms and conditions as others who are similar in their ability or inability to work. In other words, if a pregnant employee cannot perform an essential function of lifting more than 25 pounds, and you have previous accommodated other non-pregnant employees in that job with similar lifting restrictions, then you must offer the same accommodation to the pregnant employee. It is not up to you to decide whether your pregnant employee can, or cannot, continue working.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

EEOC updates pregnancy discrimination guidance to embrace accommodations


In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Young v. UPS, the EEOC has updated its administrative guidance on pregnancy discrimination. The updated guidance includes Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination And Related Issues, a Q&A, and a Fact Sheet for Small Businesses.

The most notable inclusion is updated guidance on an employer’s obligation to provide reasonable accommodation to a pregnant worker.
From the Q&A:
May an employer impose greater restrictions on pregnancy-related medical leave than on other medical leave? 
No. Under the PDA, an employer must allow women with physical limitations resulting from pregnancy to take leave on the same terms and conditions as others who are similar in their ability or inability to work. Thus, an employer:
  • may not fire a pregnant employee for being absent if her absence is covered by the employer's sick leave policy;
  • may not require employees limited by pregnancy or related medical conditions to first exhaust their sick leave before using other types of accrued leave if it does not impose the same requirements on employees who seek leave for other medical conditions;
  • may not impose a shorter maximum period for pregnancy-related leave than for other types of medical or short-term disability leave; and
  • must allow an employee who is temporarily disabled due to pregnancy to take leave without pay to the same extent that other employees who are similar in their ability or inability to work are allowed to do so.
Must an employer provide a reasonable accommodation to a worker with a pregnancy- related impairment who requests one? 

Yes, if the accommodation is necessary because of a pregnancy-related impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. An employer may only deny a needed reasonable accommodation to an employee with a disability who has asked for one if it would result in an undue hardship. An undue hardship is defined as an action requiring significant difficulty or expense. 

Examples of reasonable accommodations that may be necessary for someone whose pregnancy-related impairment is a disability include:
  • Redistributing marginal or nonessential functions (for example, occasional lifting) that a pregnant worker cannot perform, or altering how an essential or marginal function is performed;
  • Modifying workplace policies, such as allowing a pregnant worker more frequent breaks or allowing her to keep a water bottle at a workstation even though keeping drinks at workstations is generally prohibited;
  • Modifying a work schedule so that someone who experiences severe morning sickness can arrive later than her usual start time and leave later to make up the time;
  • Allowing a pregnant worker placed on bed rest to telework where feasible;
  • Granting leave in addition to what an employer would normally provide under a sick leave policy;
  • Purchasing or modifying equipment, such as a stool for a pregnant employee who needs to sit while performing job tasks typically performed while standing; and
  • Temporarily reassigning an employee to a light duty position.



As the new guidance makes abundantly clear, while an employer cannot compel a pregnant employee to take an accommodation (such as a leave) if she is able to perform her job, it must allow women with physical limitations resulting from pregnancy to take leave (or other accommodations) on the same terms and conditions as others who are similar in their ability or inability to work. Thus, the EEOC has confirmed, as I’ve consistently said (here and here, for example), that if employers grant employees accommodations under the ADA, Title VII will almost certainly compel them to do the same for pregnant employees.