Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978

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Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 is an amendment to the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It prohibits employers from discriminating against workers based on pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. It affects only companies that employ 15 or more people. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Under the act, an employer cannot lawfully refuse to hire a woman if she is pregnant unless her condition makes it impossible for her to perform the major functions of the position. In an interview, it is illegal for an employer to ask a woman if she is pregnant or if she plans to become pregnant or have children.

History of the Law:

Before the Pregnancy Discrimination Act was passed, pregnant women could be forced to take a leave of absence or resign because of their current condition. Employers did not have to provide disability or medical coverage for pregnancy. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by stating that pregnancy is a disability and that pregnant employees, in covered organizations, must be treated equally as employees having other medical conditions. Under the law, it is illegal for employees to deny sick leave for morning sickness or related pregnancy illness if sick leave is permitted for other medical conditions such as flu or surgical operations. Specifically, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act affects employee benefit programs including (1) hospitalization and major medical insurance, (2) temporary disability and salary continuation plans, and (3) sick leave policies (Bohlander and Snell, 105).

The law prohibits discrimination in the hiring, promotion, or termination of women because of pregnancy. Women must be evaluated on their ability to perform the job, and employers may not set dates for mandatory pregnancy leaves. Leave dates are to be based on the the individual pregnant...
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