Pregnant employees may need reasonable accommodations
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA) forbids discrimination against employees based on pregnancy related to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, compensation, job assignments, promotions, fringe benefits, such as leave policies and health insurance, and any other term or condition of employment. In a recent decision entered on March 25, 2015, Young v. United Parcel Service, the U.S. Supreme Court clarified the broad scope of the PDA holding that an employer may be required to provide a reasonable accommodation to pregnant workers if they accommodate other non-pregnant employees for similar requested accommodations.
The Supreme Court’s decision involved the United Parcel Service’s (UPS) denial of light duty work to a pregnant employee, Peggy Young, who was a UPS driver. As a driver, she was expected to lift packages weighing up to 70 pounds. In 2006, Ms. Young became pregnant and her doctor advised that she should lift no more than 20 pounds early in her pregnancy and 10 pounds after 20 weeks. Ms. Young requested the light duty lifting accommodation and she was denied by UPS. After UPS denied the requested accommodation, Ms. Young was forced to take leave without pay. She sued UPS alleging that its conduct violated the PDA asserting that UPS accommodated other, non-pregnant workers with lifting restrictions.
Read more about the court's decision in this case.
Do not retaliate!
A basic rule of thumb for all employers when addressing an employee’s complaints of harassment or discrimination in the workplace is to take the complaints seriously, perform a proper investigation and take appropriate action or corrective measures. Even a baseless claim of harassment or discrimination has the potential of becoming a risk of legal liability if the employer’s actions are perceived as retaliation against the employee who submitted the complaints.
To read more about how this was illustrated in a recent case, click here.
Employee Handbooks in the cross hairs
Does your Employee Handbook require employees to keep their salary confidential? If it does, you may be violating – unintentionally – the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), federal legislation enacted in the 1930s, to protect the rights of employees and employers and regulate collective bargaining efforts in the United States. But, “we don’t have a union,” you protest. No matter. Section 7 of the NLRA protects all employees – union or non-union – who raise concerns about their workplace and its policies. But, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) does not want to leave employers, like you, up the proverbial litigation stream without a paddle.
To the extent that the information contained in this newsletter concerns federal or state tax issues, such information was not written or intended to be used, and cannot be used, for (1) avoiding federal or state tax penalties or (2) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.