The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) recently issued an enforcement guidance relating to the treatment of pregnant employees (the “Guidance”). The Guidance reaffirms the EEOC’s position that, although pregnancy itself is not a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), many temporary pregnancy-related impairments may qualify as disabilities. Temporary impairments that may qualify as disabilities include, for example, carpel tunnel syndrome, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and even nausea resulting in severe dehydration. Per the EEOC, therefore, employers may be required to offer reasonable accommodations to employees with such pregnancy-related impairments.
On June 30, 2014, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission touted its recent agreement with Princeton HealthCare System to settle litigation challenging PCHS’s “inflexible” leave of absence policy under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
According to the press release published by the EEOC, PHCS maintained a fixed leave policy whereby employees were terminated if they were unable to return to work at the end of FMLA-covered leaves of absence, or after a shorter period if ineligible for Family and Medical Leave Act-related leave. This blanket policy, the EEOC asserts, violates the ADA because it fails to consider leave as a reasonable accommodation. To settle the case, PCHS will pay $1,350,000 and eliminate its inflexible leave policy. The EEOC press release also celebrates of “significant resolutions of EEOC cases involving leave and attendance policies, including its settlements with Interstate Distributor, Supervalu, Sears and Verizon. Read more
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