Accommodating pregnancy when women have been forced onto unpaid leave after being denied accommodations routinely provided to similarly situated employees.That should have been a sign that the EEOC was setting its sights on pregnancy discrimination.
So, what are these cases?
- Pursuant to a policy in its employee handbook, a wing joint allegedly laid off eight female employees for getting pregnant (pro tip: don't include mandatory discrimination in your handbooks).
- A seafood restaurant laid off two pregnant waitresses allegedly because "their pregnancies caused them to be a liability to the company."
- Finally, the EEOC filed suit against a juvenile detention center that allegedly maintains a policy that "require[s] employees to immediately notify the company once the employee learns she is pregnant, and requires her to produce a certification from her doctor that she is capable of continuing to work."
Still not convinced? How about this tweet from Chai Feldblum, who is actually a commissioner on the EEOC:
Yes -- we are serious about this! Pregnancy Discrimination Target Of EEOC huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/29/pre… via @huffingtonpostNow may be a good time for employers to crack open those employee handbooks to make sure their pregnancy policies are in order.
— Chai Feldblum (@chaifeldblum) October 2, 2012
One final note, it's not just the EEOC that's hitting this issue - pending legislation would require employers to reasonably accommodate pregnancy. I blogged about the House bill back in May - Eric Meyer notes recent efforts in the Senate.
Image: EEOC logo used in commentary on EEOC. Not official use.