A Tennessee caregiving company has agreed to pay $200,000 to settle a pregnancy bias lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, since at least 2010, the employer had required its female employees to sign a pregnancy policy during orientation. The policy provided that their employment terminated at the fifth month of pregnancy. The EEOC further alleged that the employer enforced its policy against multiple women by terminating them due to their pregnancy, despite their ability to effectively perform their job duties.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act makes clear that bias against applicants or employees on the basis of childbirth, pregnancy, or related medical conditions constitutes illegal sex discrimination. Additionally, while pregnancy itself is not considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), conditions associated with pregnancy — including back pain, gestational diabetes, and pregnancy-induced high blood pressure — may be.
Pregnant employees who are able to continue performing their jobs must be permitted to do so. If a pregnant employee is temporarily unable to perform her job, she must be treated the same as any other temporarily disabled employee in terms of opportunities for modified work tasks, light duty, alternative assignments, disability leave or unpaid leave.
Learn more about pregnancy bias and pregnancy discrimination laws.