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Pregnancy Discrimination Act

‘Pregnancy Not Part of Uniform,’ Saks Fifth Avenue D&G MakeUp Counter Employee’s Discrimination Law Suit Claims

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Before Tiffany Kantrowitz got pregnant she says a supervisor discouraged her from the idea, telling the Procter & Gamble Co‘s Saks Fifth Avenue Dolce & Gabbana shop make up girl that “pregnancy is not part of the uniform.”

That supervisor’s statements were among allegations listed in a lawsuit Kantrowitz brought last Friday after she was fired last February 2015 after actually getting pregnant, Kantrowitz stated. She claims she was penalized for asking to take breaks to get off of her feet.

Neither Dolce and Gabbana nor Saks was named in the lawsuit which alleges P&G violated federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act and a similar New York City law.

Instead of accommodating Kantrowitz’s request, the lawsuit said, P&G forced her to take breaks that were deducted from the leave time she was entitled to under the Family and Medical Leave Act. She says she planned to take leave only after her baby was born.

But P&G said she was fired for taking “tester” items for personal use, according to the lawsuit. But P&G encouraged its cosmetics staff to do so, the suit says, and never warned Kantrowitz against it during her time with the company.

Pregnancy discrimination has been a top issue for groups that focus on employment protections for women, along with pay parity and wage increases in industries that employ disproportionate numbers of women.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that United Parcel Service Inc improperly denied a pregnant driver’s request not to lift heavy packages. The court, in a 6-3 decision, said employers must offer legitimate business reasons to deny accommodations to pregnant employees and cannot simply claim it would be expensive or inconvenient.

h/t Bangor  Daily News

US Supreme Court ruled against UPS in pregnancy discrimination case yesterday

In a 6-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has handed a victory to Peggy Young and pregnant workers in Young v. United Parcel Service. Now it’s back to the Fourth Circuit to hash out the case.
“The Court has put employers on notice: pregnancy is not a reason to discriminate. The Court said that if you accommodate most non-pregnant workers who need it but not most pregnant workers who need it, you may be found guilty of violating the Pregnancy Discrimination Act,” said Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President of the National Women’s Law Center in a statement in response to the ruling.
Young, whose boss at UPS told her to take unpaid leave when she asked for a break from heavy lifting on her job because of her pregnancy, sued UPS for discrimination. A district court ruled in favor of UPS on a summary judgment motion, and the Fourth Circuit affirmed, saying that UPS had created a “pregnancy-blind policy.”
Young had asked for “light duty” and pointed out that UPS gave “light duty” to other non-pregnant employees, including those injured on the job and employees with a disability as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Court asks: “Why, when the employer accommodated so many, could it not accommodate pregnant women as well?”
That’s a question a lot of pregnant women have been asking lately. The EEOC has identified accommodating pregnancy-related limitations under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act as a national enforcement priority through 2016.
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Also….
The Harvard Business Review published a pretty good analysis and treatment of what the law means for pregnant workers. Here is a key take away for what employers can make sure that they’re on the right side of the law by taking the following steps:
  • Ensure that light duty policies that apply to some categories of employees, such as those with on-the-job injuries, apply also to pregnant women.
  • Take a good look at other workplace policies to ensure compliance with both the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act’s mandates to provide accommodations to pregnant women. Employers in cities and states that have pregnancy accommodation laws will need to ensure compliance with those laws’ often more expansive requirements as well. Employers should review at least the following types of policies to ensure pregnant women are not disfavored: accommodation, leave, scheduling, and attendance. The easiest solution may be to simply amend existing policies and procedures to include accommodations on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions (including lactation).
  • Establish procedures for determining what accommodations are necessary and appropriate.
  • Train supervisors about how to recognize and respond to pregnant employees’ need for accommodation.

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Supreme Court hears UPS Pregnancy discrimination case

The United States Supreme Court on Wednesday struggled with how to balance workplace rights for pregnant women, in a case brought against United Parcel Service by a former delivery driver.

The court took the case to clarify the meaning of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which requires employers to treat pregnant women the same as nonpregnant employees who are “similar in their ability or inability to work.” During an hourlong oral argument, the justices sent no clear signals of how they would rule.

Peggy Young, the driver, alleged UPS discriminated against her after she became pregnant in 2006, saying the company wouldn’t accommodate doctor-recommended lifting restrictions, forcing her to take unpaid leave and lose medical coverage. UPS said its policies didn’t discriminate because they provided across-the-board rules accommodating workers injured on the job, but not those who faced lifting restrictions because of off-the-job medical conditions.

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New EEOC guidance: Employers must provide lactation rooms; Can offer abortion; treats pregnancy like a disabilty

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a groundbreaking ruling Enforcement Guidance today clarifying the nation’s pregnancy discrimination rules.  The EEOC decided and noted, among other things: 
1. Employers must give women who are pregnant the same flexibility and accommodations as they provide for disabled and ill employees. So, for example, if an employer provides an employee who has a back injury or some other movement limiting disability “light duty” to accommodate their limitations, he or she should provide similar adjustments for women who are pregnant.
2. Employers cannot judge work-limitations due to pregnancy in a different light that it would consider limitations caused by an injury or sudden illness.
3. Violations of the Affordable Care Act’s requirement to provide suitable places for women to pump their breast milk is also a violation of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.


4. Employers are guilty of stereotyping when they decide to not hire, promote or give a pregnant woman a task based on their biased perception she would be able to perform her duties well after she delivers her baby. 
5. Employers cannot fire a woman returning  from maternity leave just because a pregnant woman was on maternity leave; neither can they fire a woman while she is on maternity leave.
6. Employers cannot exclude birth control from medical policies unless they fall under rules exceptions. This one is a dig at the recent U.S. Supreme Court cases exempting certain employers from complying with the AHA birth control laws. But it went further, to clarify, that an employer CAN include abortion in its plan if it wants. 
Not all, including some of the Commissioners on the panel agreed with the majority’s decision, arguing that treating pregnancy like a disability is an insult to the disability community. Read the reply to those in the minority of this decision from Commissioner Chai Feldblum HERE!

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