Light Duty and Pregnancy

We posted in the past about an employer’s obligation to provide “light duty” to a pregnant employee.   The new EEOC Pregnancy Guidelines clarify the EEOC’s position on this issue.  The Guidelines state that an employer is required to provide light duty under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)  “if it provides light duty for employees who are not pregnant but who are similar in their ability or inability to work.  An employer may not treat pregnant workers differently from employees who are similar in their ability or inability to work based on the cause of their limitations. For example, an employer may not deny light duty to a pregnant employee based on a policy that limits light duty to employees with on-the-job injuries.”

Although the EEOC’s position on this issue is not law, courts often give deference to agency interpretations of the laws they enforce.  As a result, any employer who is covered by the PDA (15 or more employees), should be consider revising a light duty policy that solely provides light duty to employees with work related injuries.


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