Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Pregnancy-related Protections under Title VII

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits any act of discrimination on the basis of childbirth, pregnancy, or related medical conditions, including unlawful sex discrimination under Title VII. This provision covers employers with 15 or more employees, as well as state and local governments.

Under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, PDA also applies to employment agencies, labor organizations, and the federal government. Also, women who are pregnant or were affected by pregnancy-related conditions must be treated in the same manner as other applicants or employees with the same abilities or limitations.

Here are the protections provided by Title VII:

Hiring. Any employer should not deny application of a pregnant applicant only because of her condition and other pregnancy-related stipulations, or because of the discrimination done by co-workers, customers, or clients.

Health Insurance. Any health insurance provided by employer must cover expenses for the employee’s pregnant condition on the same basis as costs for other medical conditions. However, in cases of abortion, an employer does not need to provide health insurance, except where the mother’s life is endangered.

Fringe Benefits. Pregnancy-related benefits should not be limited to married employees. In an all-female job classification, benefits must be provided for pregnancy-related conditions if benefits are provided for other medical conditions.

Pregnancy and Maternity Leave. Any employer should not isolate pregnancy-related conditions for special procedures to identify an employee’s capacity to work. However, if an employer needs the employee to submit a doctor’s statement about her inability to work before granting the leave or compensating sick benefits, the employee must be able to present such document.

If an employee is temporarily unable to do her job due to her pregnancy, the employer should treat her similarly, as with any other temporarily disabled employees.

Consult employment law attorneys in your state for further details about PDA.

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