Last month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued new Enforcement Guidance (“Guidance”) on pregnancy discrimination in the workplace and related issues. In its first update in over thirty (30) years, the Commission clarified how Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) interact to protect pregnant employees. If you are an employer in California, you may be thinking, “Great. Another change in the law and now I am stuck with trying to figure out how these changes apply to my business. Now what do I need to do to make sure the policies and procedures in our handbook are up to date?”
The new guidelines prohibit employers from forcing pregnant workers to take leave and acknowledge that “employers may have to provide light duty for pregnant workers.” After childbirth, lactation is now covered as a pregnancy-related medical condition.
Also, it’s not just women who will benefit. The guidelines say that when it comes to parental leave, “similarly situated” men and women must be treated on the same terms.
Here are some tips to consider when reviewing and updating your handbooks: