WASHINGTON - New federal guidelines on job discrimination against pregnant workers could have a big impact on the workplace and in the courtroom.
The expanded rules adopted by the bipartisan Equal Employment Opportunity Commission make clear that any form of workplace discrimination or harassment against pregnant workers by employers is a form of sex discrimination - and illegal.
Updating its pregnancy discrimination guidelines for the first time in more than 30 years, the agency cited a "persistence of overt pregnancy discrimination, as well as the emergence of more subtle discriminatory practices."
The new guidelines prohibit employers from forcing pregnant workers to take leave and acknowledge that "employers may have to provide light duty for pregnant workers." After childbirth, lactation is now covered as a pregnancy-related medical condition.