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Pregnancy Discrimination Act

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EEO Pregnancy Discrimination Act


Job's demands, doctor's orders-a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service wonders if she pushed herself too hard carrying her son .For some working women, getting pregnant may force a choice between their health and their jobs


The Pregnancy Discrimination Act is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions constitutes unlawful sex discrimination under Title VII, which covers employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. Title VII also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations, as well as to the federal government. Women who are pregnant or affected by related conditions must be treated in the same manner as other applicants or employees with similar abilities or limitations.

Title VII's pregnancy-related protections include:

  • Hiring

    An employer cannot refuse to hire a pregnant woman because of her pregnancy, because of a pregnancy-related condition or because of the prejudices of co-workers, clients, or customers.


  • Pregnancy and Maternity Leave

    An employer may not single out pregnancy-related conditions for special procedures to determine an employee's ability to work. However, if an employer requires its employees to submit a doctor's statement concerning their inability to work before granting leave or paying sick benefits, the employer may require employees affected by pregnancy-related conditions to submit such statements.

    If an employee is temporarily unable to perform her job due to pregnancy, the employer must treat her the same as any other temporarily disabled employee. For example, if the employer allows temporarily disabled employees to modify tasks, perform alternative assignments or take disability leave or leave without pay, the employer also must allow an employee who is temporarily disabled due to pregnancy to do the same.

    Pregnant employees must be permitted to work as long as they are able to perform their jobs. If an employee has been absent from work as a result of a pregnancy-related condition and recovers, her employer may not require her to remain on leave until the baby's birth. An employer also may not have a rule that prohibits an employee from returning to work for a predetermined length of time after childbirth.

    Employers must hold open a job for a pregnancy-related absence the same length of time jobs are held open for employees on sick or disability leave.

posted 5/05/02

EEOC -Pregnancy Discrimination

Summary: Bailey was a mail carrier in Melrose Park, Ill., when her supervisor ordered her to take leave without pay in January 1997. A month earlier, when she was five months pregnant, Bailey had asked to have her responsibilities cut back. She was assigned to light duty for a month before her supervisor told her to go home until she was called back to work. According to the supervisor, only one light duty position was available, the positions were “first come, first served,” and Bailey was the fourth person to request light duty.

Bailey sought counseling from her Equal Employment Opportunity office and filed a formal discrimination complaint in August 1997. Bailey contended that her supervisor had discriminated against her because she was pregnant. An EEOC administrative judge found that she had not been discriminated against because employees on light duty were called back to work, but neither postal nor union officials were able to locate her, they said. The agency adopted the EEOC decision.

Bailey appealed the final agency decision, alleging that the postmaster told her when he sent her home it was because she was pregnant. She also contended that another coworker was sent certified and express mail asking her to return to work, but that the Postal Service failed to use those measures to contact her.

The commission decided that while Bailey did not have a disability as described under the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, she was discriminated against because of her pregnancy. The case was sent back to the agency for a new hearing.

Date Issued:  16 Jan 02

Source:  Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Federal Sector Case Decisions

Document #:  01994321

Title:  Bailey VS USPS


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