Pregnancy Discrimination Act

What is the Pregnancy Discrimination Act?

 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 EEOC. 

What is expected of an employer under the PDA?

An employer cannot discriminate based on discrimination in all terms and benefits of employment, including:

  • Hiring
  • Firing
  • Compensation
  • Transfers
  • Promotions
  • Time Off

 Additionally, 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 FMLA.   An employer is also prohibited from requiring a pregnant employee from going on leave prior to the baby’s birth and the employee is able to work and does not want to leave. 

What are the penalties for failing to comply?

Penalties under the PDA are the same as those under TITLE VII. 

Additional Resources:

Pregnancy Discrimination:  www.eeoc.gov/types/pregnancy.html