Current & Past Pregnancy. Under the PDA, an employer cannot fire, refuse to hire, demote, or take any other adverse action
against a woman if pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition was a motivating factor in the adverse employment
action. This is true even if the employer believes it is acting in the employee's best interest during or at the end of her
pregnancy or leave status. The same standard applies as a covered entity may not discriminate against an employee or
applicant based on a past pregnancy or pregnancy-related medical condition or childbirth.
Potential Pregnancy. An employer may not discriminate based on an employee's intention or potential to become pregnant.
Concerns about risks to a pregnant employee or her fetus will rarely, if ever, justify sex-specific job restrictions for a woman
of childbearing capacity.
Medical Condition Related to Pregnancy or Childbirth. An employer may not discriminate against an employee because of a
medical condition related to pregnancy and must treat the employee the same as others who are similar in their ability or
inability to work but are not affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
THE FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT.
The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (“FMLA”), as amended, allows eligible employees of employers with 50 or more
employees to take up to 12 workweeks of leave for the birth and care of the employee's child. Employers also restore the
employee to the employee's original job or to an equivalent job with equivalent pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of
THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”), as amended, (“ADAAA”) may provide coverage as well. Although pregnancy
itself is not a disability, pregnant workers may have impairments related to their pregnancies that qualify as disabilities under the
ADAAA, such as pregnancy-related carpal tunnel syndrome, gestational diabetes, and other premature conditions in a child. An
employer may not discriminate against an individual whose pregnancy-related impairment is a disability under the ADAAA and
must provide an individual with a reasonable accommodation if needed because of a pregnancy-related disability, unless the
accommodation would result in significant difficulty or expense (“undue hardship”).
THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) is a 2010 federal statute signed by President Obama that requires
employers to provide “reasonable break time” for hourly employees to generate breast milk until the child's first birthday.
Employers are required to provide “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from
coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.” Employers with fewer than 50 employees
are not subject to this requirement if it “would impose an undue hardship by causing significant difficulty or expense when
considered in relation to the size, nature, or structure of the employer’s business.”