For the first time in three decades, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission updated its guidelines regarding how employers may treat workers who are pregnant. According to the new guidelines, employers are not allowed to terminate pregnant workers or fail to make arrangements for them to do lighter work. Employers who violate these standards may be in violation of gender discrimination rules.
According to the EEOC, the number of complaints filed with agencies at the state, local and federal level regarding treatment of pregnant workers has jumped 73 percent from 1997 to 2013. These new guidelines do not focus solely on improving women's rights in the workplace before, during or after a pregnancy. Employers are asked to provide men with parental leave to be with their children when they are born just as a woman would get time off after her child is born.
In a statement given by an attorney with experience in employment matters, the new guidelines are meant to make it easier for managers and employees to determine what their rights and obligations are. It also makes it easier to train managers in how to deal with an employee who may be pregnant or how to avoid questions during a job interview as to whether or not a woman has kids or wants them in the future.
An employer is generally not allowed to discriminate against employees based on age, gender or whether or not a worker is going through a pregnancy. Those who feel as if they may be facing discrimination due to those or other factors may wish to consult with an employment law attorney who may be able to assist in collecting documents or interviewing witnesses in an attempt to win a financial award for a client who has been terminated or denied advancement due to such discrimination.
Source: WGRZ, "New Guidelines Issued to Prevent Pregnancy Discrimination", Kelly Dudzik, July 17, 2014