Pregnancy Discrimination Act

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The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 is a United States federal statute. It amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to "prohibit sex discrimination on the basis of pregnancy."[1]

The Act covers discrimination "on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions." The pregnancy must be deemed as a normal, objectifiable condition, for that to be enacted. Employers with less than 15 employees are exempted from the Act. [2][3] Employers are exempt from providing medical coverage for elective abortions, unless the mother's life is threatened, but are required to provide disability and sick leave for women who are recovering from an abortion.[4]

The law was passed as a direct response to a United States Supreme Court decision in General Electric Company v. Gilbert, which held that pregnancy discrimination was not a form of sex discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.[5]

In March 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States' decision in Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc. provided additional clarity on whether and when employers are required to provide work-related accommodations to pregnant employees.[6] The lawsuit stemmed from United Parcel Service's refusal to accommodate a 20-pound lifting restriction of a driver during her pregnancy. Because Ms. Young could not lift the required 70 pounds for drivers, UPS did not allow her to work. Ms. Young provided evidence that a number of employees received accommodations while suffering similar or more serious disabilities. According to the testimony of one UPS employee, the only time a light duty request seemed to become an issue occurred when the request was made by a pregnant employee.[7] The Court held that a pregnant employee can make a prima facie, meaning a plausible case of discrimination, by showing that “she belongs to the protected class, that she sought accommodation, that the employer did not accommodate her. The Court further held that a plaintiff can meet a summary judgement standard "by providing evidence that the employer accommodates a large percentage of nonpregnant workers while failing to accommodate a large percentage of pregnant workers."[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Text of the Act from the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  2. ^ Facts About Pregnancy Discrimination from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  3. ^ Pregnancy Discrimination from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  4. ^ Congress and the Nation, s.vv. “1798,” “Pregnancy Disability.” Vol. V, 1977-1980, p. 797
  5. ^ "Forceps Delivery: The Supreme Court Narrowly Saves the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in Young v. UPS". Retrieved 2015-04-05. 
  6. ^ Chin, Michael (27 March 2015). "Supreme Court Vacates Employer Victory in Pregnancy Discrimination Case". The National Law Review. Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  7. ^ Leonoro, Joesph (2 April 2015). "U.S. Supreme Court Tackles Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace". The National Law Review. Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  8. ^ Johnson, Brandon. "Pregnancy Discrimination Claims after Young v. UPS". McBrayer Employment Law. McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland, PLLC. Retrieved 25 April 2015. 

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