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No special treatment needed for pregnant staff

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training,Maternity Leave Laws

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) doesn’t guarantee pregnant employees any special treatment in the workplace. It simply says you must treat them “the same as any other temporarily disabled employee.”

For example, you may have to provide modified tasks, alternative assignments, disability leave or unpaid leave—just as you would someone with a back injury.

If your organization doesn’t allow other employees to take leave or be placed in light-duty positions, then pregnant employees aren’t entitled to such privileges either.

Recent case: When nurse Rebekah Noecker became pregnant with twins, her doctor placed restrictions on her working conditions. At first, the hospital found some make-work tasks for her. When those were completed and she’d used up her leave, she was told to go home.

She filed a pregnancy-bias lawsuit. But she couldn’t point to any other employee with a temporary incapacity who got better treatment than she received. So the court dismissed her case. (Noecker v. Reading Hospital, No. 5:08-CV-03553, ED PA, 2010)

Note: Leave resulting from pregnancy would qualify for unpaid FMLA leave if the employee is FMLA eligible.

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