Massachusetts Pregnancy Discrimination

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) outlaws discrimination on the basis of pregnancy and medical conditions related to child birth.  The PDA was passed in 1978 in response to a Supreme Court case that held pregnancy-related discrimination was not sex discrimination under Title VII.  Recently, in 2007, there were more than 5,500 pregnancy claims filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

The PDA ensures that employees will not be discriminated against, based on a pregnancy, in all terms and benefits of employment, including: hiring, firing, compensation, transfers, promotions, time off. 

Importantly, an employer must hold the pregnant employee’s job open for the same amount of time that the employer would hold the job open for someone who is on leave for illness or disability pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act.   Also, an employee cannot be forced to go on leave before the baby’s birth if the employee is capable of doing the required work and does not want to go on leave.