- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has sued Saint Clare's Health in New Jersey, alleging it refused to accommodate a new hire's disability by delaying her start date, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (EEOC v. Prime Healthcare Services – Saint Clare's LLC dba Saint Clare's Health, No. 2:21-cv-2055 (D.N.J, Feb. 8, 2021)).
- The EMS dispatcher, who was six months pregnant, was offered a position and told she would receive leave for the birth of her child; when she experienced impairments related to her pregnancy, she was induced into early labor five days before her start date, according to the commission. She contacted the employer asking about next steps but it rescinded her offer, "even though she needed only the minor accommodation of delaying her start date by several weeks," EEOC said in a statement announcing the suit.
- St. Clare's failed to engage in the interactive process in good faith after being put on notice of McKay's disability and need of assistance for the disability, the agency alleged in its complaint. The suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
While normal pregnancy alone doesn't trigger ADA protections, conditions or complications as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia may do so.
Additionally, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA), part of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of pregnancy and requires that employers treat pregnant employees the same others in their ability or inability to work.
While the federal PDA doesn't explicitly require accommodations, it does require that employers treat workers affected by pregnancy or related medical conditions the same as others in their ability or inability to work. If a pregnant employee is temporarily unable to perform a job, experts previously told HR Dive, the worker should be treated the same as any other employee with a temporarily disability in terms of opportunities for light duty or unpaid leave, for example. Employers also may have a responsibility under applicable state and local laws to accommodate pregnant employees.
The EEOC has identified combating pregnancy discrimination as an enforcement priority. The federal agency resolved nearly 3,000 pregnancy discrimination charges in 2019 according to its fiscal year reporting.
Experts have noted that front-line managers cause a significant portion of employment law violations and recommend that managers be trained to recognize requests for accommodation.