- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sued the country's largest ambulance service provider, American Medical Response Ambulance Service (AMR), alleging that it violated federal law by refusing to accommodate a worker’s pregnancy-related medical conditions.
- A paramedic working in Spokane, Washington asked for light duty for the last part of her pregnancy and supplied a doctor’s note supporting her request. The company denied the request, even though it regularly provided light-duty assignments to non-pregnant workers with similar restrictions; it told her to either take unpaid leave or work without any restrictions, the EEOC has alleged. Refusing to provide light duty to pregnant workers when similar, non-pregnant employees are allowed light duty violates the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the EEOC said.
- The federal agency has asked for monetary damages, training on anti-discrimination laws, posting of anti-discrimination notices at the worksite and other injunctive relief.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that forbids discrimination against pregnant employees and requires employers to provide the same reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees as those provided to other employees. If an employer provides light duty or something similar for other workers, then the employer needs to provide that for pregnant employees, too, experts previously told HR Dive.
Pregnancy bias is a top enforcement priority for the EEOC. Walmart, for example, was hit with an EEOC bias claim after it allegedly denied a light-duty program to pregnant employees. And PruittHealth-Raleigh LLC agreed to pay $25,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by the EEOC alleging that the company denied a reasonable accommodation to a pregnant employee who had a medically imposed lifting restriction and then required her to resign because of the restriction.
Employers should also be aware that many state and local laws provide protections for pregnant women; in many instances, the protections are more robust than those provided under federal law. For example, a Kentucky state law that went into effect on June 27 requires employers to accommodate mothers-to-be. And California requires employers to provide pregnancy disability leave in certain situations.