cloudy
Thursday February 11th, 2016 5:45AM

EEOC toughens protections for pregnant workers

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Pregnant women have new protections against on-the-job discrimination.<br /> <br /> The government has updated 30-year-old guidelines, citing "the persistence of overt pregnancy discrimination, as well as the emergence of more subtle discriminatory practices."<br /> <br /> The new guidelines from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission make clear that any form of workplace discrimination or harassment against pregnant workers by employers is a form of sex discrimination and illegal.<br /> <br /> They prohibit employers from forcing pregnant workers to take leave and acknowledge that "employers may have to provide light duty for pregnant workers." After childbirth, lactation is now covered as a pregnancy-related medical condition.<br /> <br /> It's not just women who will benefit.<br /> <br /> The guidelines say that when it comes to parental leave "similarly situated" men and women must be treated on the same terms.<br /> <br /> The updated guidelines come two weeks after the Supreme Court agreed to take under consideration a dispute over the EEOC's duty to try to settle charges of job discrimination before filing lawsuits against employers.<br /> <br /> The issue has gained increasing attention and had vexed business groups as the Obama administration ratchets up its enforcement of the nation's anti-discrimination laws.<br /> <br /> "Despite much progress, we continue to see a significant number of charges alleging pregnancy discrimination, and our investigations have revealed the persistence of overt pregnancy discrimination, as well as the emergence of more subtle discriminatory practices," EEOC Chairwoman Jacqueline A. Berrien said in a statement.<br /> <br /> The latest EEOC data shows a 46 percent increase in pregnancy-related complaints to the EEOC from 1997 to 2011.<br /> <br /> The guidelines were last updated in 1983. The newly revised policy spells out for the first time how the Americans With Disabilities Act, as amended in 2008, might apply to pregnant workers. And it emphasizes that any discrimination against female workers based on past or prospective future pregnancies is also illegal.<br /> <br /> The American Civil Liberties Union welcomed the update, which was approved Monday on a 3-2 partisan-line vote by the Democratic-led commission.<br /> <br /> "Far too many pregnant workers have been forced off the job and denied a paycheck just when they need it most, despite the fact that they are willing and able to come to work," said Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU's Washington Legislative Office. "Pregnancy is not a justification for excluding women from jobs that they are qualified to perform, and it cannot be a basis for denying employment or treating women less favorably than co-workers."<br /> <br /> Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women and Families, called the new guidelines "a powerful tool in the effort to eradicate the unlawful and unequal treatment of pregnant women in the workplace," Ness said.<br /> <br /> "This is a significant victory," said Joan C. Williams, a law professor at the University of California's Hastings School of Law in San Francisco. "Too often today pregnant workers lose their jobs when employers deny them accommodations that are regularly granted to other employees."<br /> <br /> Commissioners Constance Barker and Victoria Lipnic dissented from the decision, saying the commission was overstepping its authority. Both were first appointed by Republican President George W. Bush.<br /> <br /> The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been critical of EEOC decisions during the Obama years, and the EEOC matter was no exception.<br /> <br /> Randel Johnson, the chamber's vice president for labor issues, called it "an agency which often advances questionable enforcement tactics and legal theories."<br /> <br /> The Senate is considering a closely related issue: a Democratic-sponsored bill aiming to circumvent the Supreme Court's June 30 "Hobby Lobby" decision to allow private companies to opt out of covering certain kinds of birth control. An attempt by sponsors to force the measure to a vote will be held Wednesday. However, it seems unlikely to draw the 60 votes needed to advance the legislation.<br /> <br /> Democrats are seeking to turn the battle into a women's rights issue that can help them at the ballot box in November.<br /> <br /> "Regardless of what Republicans in Congress will tell you, we still have a long, long way to go before American women are equal in all aspects of the law," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in a prepared Senate speech.<br /> <br /> Reid's pointed remarks were aimed at comments last week by the Senate's top Republican, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, that women have come a "long way" on pay equity.<br />
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 1 year ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 1 year ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
State DOT awards $48M contract for NE Ga. road project
The state Department of Transportation has awarded a $47.8 million contract for nine miles of work on a northeast Georgia road.
9:37AM ( 1 year ago )
Business News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 1 year ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 1 year ago )
Maysville man dies from Banks County wreck
The Georgia State Patrol reports that alcohol and/or drugs were factors a single-vehicle wreck that claimed the life of a Maysville man in Banks County Tuesday night.
11:07AM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
GOP leader regrets talk to white supremacists; party leaders rally around him
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
6:08PM ( 1 year ago )
Conviction of Putin foe sets off protest in Moscow
President Vladimir Putin's chief political foe was convicted along with his brother on Tuesday in a fraud case widely seen as a vendetta by the Kremlin, triggering one of Russia's boldest anti-government demonstrations in years.
6:03PM ( 1 year ago )
More Georgians signing up for health insurance
A federal report says more Georgians have selected health insurance plans through a federally facilitated marketplace.
4:16PM ( 1 year ago )
Politics
New details about the possible effects of the Zika virus on the fetal brain are emerging
WASHINGTON (AP) — New details about the possible effects of the Zika virus on the fetal brain emerged Wednesday as U.S. health officials say mosquito eradication here and abroad is key to protect preg...
6:22PM ( 11 hours ago )
President Barack Obama is asking Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to help fight the Zika virus
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is asking Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to fight the Zika virus and the mosquitoes that spread it here and abroad, but says "there s...
10:40PM ( 2 days ago )
Search for Missouri couple wanted for crimes across the South, including Ga., ends with one suspect dead and the other wounded
A weeklong search for a Missouri couple wanted in a series of robberies and abductions across the South ended with one suspect dead and the other wounded Friday, after authorities say they chased the pair across the highway and through a rural neighborhood and exchanged gunfire with them in Florida's Panhandle.
By The Associated Press
9:57PM ( 5 days ago )
Cheap oil will be sticking around for a while, buoying consumers, frustrating oil producers
Cheap oil will be sticking around for a while.That reality is wreaking havoc and causing uncertainty for some governments and businesses, while creating financial windfalls for others. Less expensive...
6:18PM ( 1 week ago )
Cruz (R) expected to claim conservative Iowa caucus victory, with Clinton (D) and Sanders (D) deadlocked among liberal vote
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz swept to victory in Iowa's Republican caucuses Monday, overcoming billionaire Donald Trump and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Among Democrats, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were deadlocked in a tight race.
By The Associated Press
10:55PM ( 1 week ago )