The PDA prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. A woman affected by pregnancy must be treated the same as other applicants and employees on the basis of their ability or inability to work. Various other laws protect the pregnant employee, including the FMLA and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
The PDA applies to employers with 15 or more employees. The PDA amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act in 1978 to specifically prohibit discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. The basic principle behind the PDA is that women affected by pregnancy and related conditions must be treated the same as other applicants and employees on the basis of their ability or inability to work. A woman is therefore protected against such practices as being fired or refused a job or promotion because she is pregnant. She cannot be forced to go on leave as long as she can still work, and if other employees who take disability leave are entitled to get their jobs back, so are women who have been unable to work because of pregnancy (29 CFR 1604.10).
An employer cannot refuse to hire a woman because of her pregnancy-related condition as long as she is able to perform the major functions of her job. In addition, an employer cannot refuse to hire her because of its prejudices against pregnant workers or the prejudices of co-workers, clients, or customers. An employer should concentrate on the required training period, physical requirements, and specific functions of the job--not on whether an applicant is pregnant, has children, or is of childbearing age.