Pregnancy discrimination, part 1: the FMLA and the PDA
Mother’s Day was last month and Father’s Day is on the way. But the problem of pregnancy discrimination – which by its very nature is only directed against women – is something that occurs all year round.
The fact that this type of discrimination occurs frequently, however, does not mean that it is acceptable.
In this three-part post, we will discuss legal protections and remedies for pregnancy discrimination.
One of those protections is of course the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This federal law, which has been on the books for two decades now, requires covered employers to grant up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off to care for a family member.
The birth or adoption of a child is certainly one of the times when the FMLA comes into play.
It is also true that some employers do offer at least a few weeks of paid leave for mothers. In addition, California and a couple of other states have passed legislation that requires employers to offer maternity benefits that go beyond the FMLA.
Paternity leave, however, is far less common; many men have to use sick time in order to be available when there is a new arrival in the family.
Unfortunately, many employers fail to honor even these very basic requirements. Bias against women – before, during and after pregnancy – is still a persistent problem in the workplace.
Fortunately, a federal law called the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on pregnancy, childbirth or related conditions. In part two of this post, we will discuss protections for women under the PDA.
Source: EEOC.gov, “Pregnancy Discrimination,” Accessed June 3, 2014