Pregnant employees, as a protected class, are having their moment in the sun. The United States Supreme Court just held in Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc. that pregnant employees may be legally entitled to accommodation of their pregnancy-related work limitations, even if those limitations do not meet the threshold of a legally-recognized “disability”. Also, for the first time in 25 years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission updated its Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination in July 2014 to declare that pregnant employees should receive the same types of accommodations, for example modified tasks, alternative assignments, or leave, as an employer accords to disabled employees who have requested a reasonable accommodation.
As I discussed earlier this year, in 3 Hyper-Local Laws Employers Can’t Afford to Ignore, various states and municipalities (including New York City) have recently passed laws providing enhanced protection to pregnant employees. Bills offering similar protections are pending in other state legislatures.