In 1978, federal lawmakers amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to ban discrimination against pregnant employees. This law might be over 40 years old, but, according to recent news, pregnancy discrimination is still common in workplaces across the country.
This recent news could significantly increase the enforcement of the law as well as the number of discrimination cases filed against employers. That is why employers must take measures to prevent discrimination.
Understanding the law is critical
The first step employers can take to prevent discrimination is to ensure they understand:
- The details of state and federal labor laws; and
- The protections employees have under these laws.
Most employers know the law prevents them from hiring, firing or altering an employee’s pay based on pregnancy. However, there are several other laws that protect pregnant employees that employers must understand as well.
What else can employers do to prevent discrimination claims?
Once employers fully understand the laws against pregnancy discrimination, then they can take measures to protect their business and prevent these claims by:
- Reviewing their company policies to ensure they comply with the laws banning discrimination;
- Modifying policies, if necessary, to accommodate pregnant employees;
- Properly informing and training managers and supervisors to make sure they understand the laws and the company policies;
- Ensuring managers and supervisors understand the consequences of violating these laws; and
- Never forcing pregnant employees to take leave or work light duties if they did not ask for these accommodations.
Remember, it is up to employers to ensure their business complies with both California and federal laws.