Maternity and Pregnancy laws & HR compliance analysis

Maternity and Pregnancy: What you need to know

Several federal laws protect or grant rights to workers on the basis of pregnancy or related medical conditions. These rights and protections may include the right to be free from discrimination, harassment, and stereotypes; the right to reasonable workplace accommodations, such as job modifications, extended or additional breaks, and leave; the right to leave for pregnancy, childbirth, related medical conditions, and bonding; and the right to equivalent fringe benefits, such as health insurance.
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For example, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), which applies to employers with 15 or more workers, protects women from discriminatory actions based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) , which applies to employers of 50 or more workers, provides leave entitlements to pregnant workers.
Further, though pregnancy itself is not considered a disability, some pregnant workers may be eligible for additional protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as amended by the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA), due to conditions related to pregnancy. The ADA applies to employers with 15 or more workers.
In 1978, the PDA amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to clarify that discrimination based on sex also includes discrimination because of or on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
The PDA, which covers employers with 15 or more workers, added two fundamental requirements to the law:
• Covered employers may not discriminate against an employee or applicant on the basis of her pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, and
• Women who are affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions must be treated the same as other persons who, though not affected by pregnancy, are otherwise similar in their ability or inability to work.

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