6. What is the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978? How do you believe supervisors should treat pregnant employees? (Chapter 4 pgs 132-133)
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act was passed after the decision made by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of General Electric Company v. Gilbert. This act stated that discrimination due to the state of being pregnant was not an act of sexual discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act was later amended in 1978. In this amended version, the act prohibits unfavorable treatment of an applicant or employee regarding “hiring, firing, pay, job assignment, promotions, layoffs, training, fringe benefits, and any other terms or conditions of employment.” The Pregnancy Discrimination Act protects all applicants and employees in the Department of Labor against pregnancy discrimination. However, this act does not require the employer to protect pregnant or potentially pregnant employees from potentially dangerous working conditions.
The federal statute considers pregnancy as a temporary disability. Thus, pregnant employees should be treated under the same jurisdiction as employees with a disability. In this case, a pregnant employee should not be treated in a manner that violates disability standards because it would have violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (1978), an employer must allow a pregnant employee to continue her employment duties and responsibilities for as long as she is able to carry them out. This also means that an employer must grant the employee a leave of absence to take care of the newborn after childbirth. Along with granting a leave of absence, the employer must guarantee the employee still has her job after her leave of absence is over and she is ready to return to work.
According to the text, many states have laws that require employers to provide a reasonable working accommodation upon request by a pregnant employee. Some of the state laws declare that employers are required to modify or provide different seating for pregnant employees, which would help them perform their tasks like the other employees. These laws also require employers to revise the frequency, or duration, of their break schedules in favor of their pregnant employees. These accommodations are meant to adapt the needs of employees and facilitate their work performance at the same time. This act also prevents the employer from dismissing any pregnant employee or transferring any employee due to their pregnancy condition. Unless the employer accommodating other classes of employees, there should be no new creation of job positions or promotion of unqualified employees to perform the job.
After reading about the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, I feel that all employers should treat their pregnant employees as the act states. I work at an obstetrics and gynecology office and I know that pregnancy can be very taxing on women. Pregnancy and childbirth should be considered as a short-term disability, as the act states, because of the difficulty of carrying and bearing a child. Childbirth has at least a four week recovery time and at least six weeks if you must have a cesarean section. That time is also spent bonding with and taking care of your very dependant new born baby. Women must also take this time to figure out and adjust to their new routine of sleepless nights and overwhelming extra duties to care for their child. I agree whole heartedly with the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
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