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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Declares Pregnancy a Disability Requiring Light Duty Accommodations

Emanuel Shirazi

As of July 14, 2014, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released a guidance that instructs employers to provide light duty accommodations to pregnant employees, even if they don’t suffer from any other underlying medical conditions. The decision is the result of an increase in pregnancy-related discrimination complaints in the last few years.

Before the most recent guidance, employers were instructed to treat pregnant employees the same as non-pregnant employees. Under the new guidance however, employers are encouraged to provide light duty accommodations to pregnant employees.

There is plenty of controversy surrounding the EEOC’s latest guidance. Not only does the guidance violate the Pregnancy Discrimination Act but could also violate the Pregnancy Workers Fairness Act which is currently pending in Congress.

Should an employer have to implement a light duty program for pregnant women, much like they would do for those with work-related injuries or conditions? Or should it depend on the specific pregnant woman’s situation? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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