Women’s rights in the workplace have recently gained the spotlight. At the White House United State of Women Summit on June 14, 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released guidance documents addressing equal pay for women and more information on pregnancy discrimination.
The purpose of the EEOC’s participation in the White House Summit was to raise awareness about women’s rights in the workplace and promote compliance through educating employers.
Jenny R. Yang (EEOC Chair): “Issues of equal pay and pregnancy discrimination are central to the work we do here at EEOC.”
The persistent issues of pay discrepancies between male and female workers or wage discrimination based on sex/gender was outlined and presented in the EEOC document, “Equal Pay and the EEOC’s Proposal to Collect Pay Data”. One of the main points the EEOC made at the White House United State of Women Summit was the fact that the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made wage discrimination based on sex illegal, but 50 years later, there is still a significant difference in compensation based on gender. The differences are not limited to hourly rates or salary. Inequality in pay involves other aspects of compensation, such as benefits and bonuses. It is for this reason that the EEOC recently proposed (last February) to collect pay data in order to help employers see the need for changes and prevent discriminatory practices and/or claims. In the case of equal pay.
The EEOC also outlined pregnant workers’ rights in the EEOC’s document “Legal Rights for Pregnant Workers under Federal Law”. The document provides an overview of the rights pertaining to pregnant workers specifically, such as special accommodations, alternative work arrangements, and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). It also highlights that any employer with more than 15 employees is prohibited under federal law from discriminating against women on the basis of pregnancy.
Not only does the fact sheet contain more details as to what is harassment and discrimination of pregnant workers, it also includes a list of potential accommodations available for pregnant women who are having issues completing their usual tasks while pregnant. For example, pregnant workers may be offered alternative work and break schedules, or the option of working from home. Accommodations may be as simple as allowing a pregnant employee to sit down to perform her job duties. In addition to these options, the EEOC reminds employers that a pregnant worker may use the Family and Medical Leave Act to take advantage of leave if she becomes unable to work due to medical status while pregnant.
The last document entitled “Helping Patients Deal with Pregnancy-Related Conditions and Restrictions at Work” provides more information for health practitioners regarding potential accommodations for a woman whose pregnancy interferes with work. This document is geared toward educating medical practitioners about the current regulations under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, so that medical practitioners appreciate the challenges employees face in balancing medical restrictions and the essential functions of their jobs.
Have you experienced pregnancy discrimination in Tampa?
Speak to an employment attorney immediately if you think you have experienced discrimination while pregnant. Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P. A., is a Tampa firm of advocates for employee rights. Give us a call to set up your free confidential consultation today.