Yesterday, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued new enforcement guidance on the treatment of pregnant employees under the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), a 1978 amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The EEOC's guidance is effective immediately and clarifies the EEOC's position on a number of topics involving pregnant employees. For example:
A significant portion of the EEOC's guidance focuses on light duty work for pregnant employees. The EEOC's position is that employers must treat a pregnant employee who is temporarily unable to perform her job in the same manner as it treats other non-pregnant employees with similar limitations in their ability to work. The EEOC also maintains that if an employer provides light duty assignments to any of its employees who temporarily are unable to perform their full duties, then similar accommodations should be made for pregnant employees who cannot perform their full duties. According to the EEOC's guidance, an employer can limit the number of light duty positions that it has available to its workforce, but it cannot prohibit pregnant employees from obtaining those positions based on the source of their limitations. In other words, it is illegal to make light duty positions available only to employees whose limitations are caused by on-the-job injuries, while excluding those with limitations caused by pregnancy. The EEOC's guidance also suggests that an unpaid leave of absence is not a reasonable accommodation for a pregnant employee who can perform many of her essential job functions, or where other light duty work is available.
While the EEOC's guidance is not binding on the courts, many courts will find it persuasive. Likewise, this new guidance is a blue print for what the EEOC will be looking for in its investigations of pregnancy charges filed under the PDA. Accordingly, employers should read the guidance and ensure that their policies and training are updated accordingly.
The EEOC's guidance and recommended best practices can be found here.
Day Pitney Alert
Rachel Gonzalez, Mary Rogers and Patrick McCarthy wrote an article "NLRB Eases Organizing of Temporary Workers" for CBIA’s H&R Safety Newsletter on the impact of the recent decision of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
On May 13, Francine Esposito will give an Employment Law Update presentation to the HR Committee of the NJ Bankers Association. She will discuss the latest developments in employment law, including but not limited to paid sick leave requirements, EEOC initiatives, recent case law and pending legislation affecting employers.
On April 13, Day Pitney will hold a CLE that will cover two topics at Quest Diagnostics Incorporated, at 3 Giralda Farms in Madison, New Jersey. Benjamin E. Haglund, John W. Cerreta, Thomas A. Zalewski and Sylvia–Rebecca Gutierrez will teach a course on Contract & Tort Law Update for the Health Care Practitioner. The course will cover contract and tort issues for health care practitioners with special emphasis on genetic testing in tort litigation and potential pitfalls regarding provisions contained in contracts with hospitals, health plans, and suppliers. Theresa Kelly and Rachel Gonzalez will also teach a course on Employment Law, which will cover employment law issues with special emphasis on recent National Labor Relations Board activities and the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Francine Esposito and Arielle Sepulveda wrote an article, “Federal Contractors Will Have To Provide Paid Sick Time,” for Pratt’s Government Contracting Law. The article explains the policies federal contractors and subcontractors need to have in place by January 1, 2017 to meet the requirements of a recent Executive Order signed by President Barack Obama for paid sick time. Specifically, federal contractors and subcontractors must allow their employees to earn at least seven days of paid sick time each year if they do not already have policies in place that provide the same amount.
Rachel Gonzalez was mentioned in an article, "Unions set to begin voting on NJ Transit rail contract," in NJ.com. Gonzalez provided an explanation of the approval process concerning union agreements in connection with the NJ Transit rail unions voting on the proposed settlement to avert a strike.
Kate Coffey, Rachel Gonzalez and Peter Wolfson were mentioned in the "New Partners Yearbook 2016" in New Jersey Law Journal. This is the Law Journal's annual yearbook devoted to recognizing both newly promoted partners and newly hired lateral partners at law firms in New Jersey.
Patrick McCarthy was quoted in an article, “Former exec's conviction puts spotlight on safety for high-risk industries; Deadly mine explosion resulted in underwriting rethink by insurers,” in Business Insurance. McCarthy was quoted in connection with the significance of a case, in which Don Blankenship, the former CEO of Massey Energy Co., was acquitted of all felony charges, but convicted of a misdemeanor conspiracy charge for willfully violating U.S. mine health and safety standards that resulted in a 2010 explosion that killed 29 coal miners in West Virginia.
The Day Pitney alert, "Federal Contractors Must Provide Paid Sick Time in the Future," authored by Francine Esposito and Arielle B. Sepulveda was referenced in a Staffing Industry Analysts article, "New Bill Would 'Ban the Box' for Federal Contractors." In addition to the Fair Chance Act, the article discusses the executive order signed by President Obama that requires federal contractors to provide paid sick time leave. Esposito and Sepulveda noted that the requirement applies to all federal contracts awarded on or after January 1, 2017.
Stamford, Conn., August 24, 2015 - Day Pitney is pleased to announce that 68 attorneys have been selected for inclusion in the 2016 Best Lawyers in America. Best Lawyers ranks lawyers through peer-review surveys, and has been published annually since 1983.