By Ashley Kaplan
When Jennifer Latowski, a certified nursing assistant at Northwoods Nursing Center, shared with her supervisor that she was pregnant, she was asked to obtain a doctor’s note stating that she had no work restrictions.
Instead, Latowski’s physician issued a 50-pound lifting restriction.
As a result, Northwoods told Latowski she could no longer work for them because they only accommodated restrictions caused from work-related incidents. Latowski filed a wrongful termination suit claiming disability and pregnancy discrimination in Latowski v. Northwoods Nursing Center. Read more…
So, I’ve been up north at HRPA 2014 and have learned so much about our Canadian HR sisters and brothers (and like the U.S., it’s still mostly sisters!).
Did you know the maternity leave in Canada is 52 weeks? That’s one year if you’re slow at math like me!
And that can be divided in any manner between the mother and father. Plus, from the peers I spoke to, many get up to 55 percent of their salary for the entire time they’re off.
The U.S. has FMLA (the Family and medical Leave Act) for only 12 weeks. By the way, the women I spoke to, who didn’t know what the U.S. did, were completely shocked by this. But, I was completely shocked by 52 weeks and 55 percent pay! Read more…
By Patricia F. Weisberg
The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, which has jurisdiction over Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee, recently issued an opinion finding that an employer may have discriminated against a pregnant employee who had a 50-pound lifting restriction when it refused to allow her to continue to work in a light duty job during her pregnancy.
The case, Latowski v. Northwoods Nursing Center, involved a certified nursing assistant (CNA) who was employed by a nursing home in Michigan. After the employee became pregnant, her doctor imposed a 50-pound lifting restriction.
When the employee reported for her scheduled shift one evening, she was escorted off the premises and advised she could apply for Family and Medical Leave. The employee, however, refused to use her Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave, preferring to save it until after the birth of her child. Read more…
By Eric B. Meyer
An employee-plaintiff who claims that she was discriminated against under the Americans with Disabilities Act due to her pregnancy alone, will lost her ADA claim 10 times out of 10. This is because pregnancy is not a disability under the ADA.
But what if that same employee plaintiff with an ADA claim alleges that the discrimination relates not to her pregnancy, but rather to her morning sickness?
Hmmm…. Read more…
By Eric B. Meyer
Last week, I wrote about last news of a bill pending in New Jersey, requiring employers to make available reasonable accommodation for pregnancy-related needs when requested by the employee with the advice of her physician.
This week I read this article in The Legal Intelligencer about this potential amendment to Philadelphia’s Fair Practices Ordinance, which too would require employers to make reasonable workplace accommodations for employees who have needs related to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.
What, you may ask, do the bill’s sponsors have in mind for reasonable accommodation? Here’s what is in the bill: Read more…
Employer health plans routinely cover pregnancy costs for workers and their spouses—but not necessarily daughters. According to a handful of new complaints filed with the federal government, that’s sex discrimination, and the Affordable Care Act doesn’t allow it.
If these complaints are successful, they could expand the benefits that health plans must cover under the Affordable Care Act.
The National Women’s Law Center is alleging that five institutions are discriminating against women by excluding pregnancy coverage from the health insurance benefits that they provide to their employees’ dependent children. Read more…
Although most observers are praising CEO Marissa Mayer and Yahoo’s upgraded maternity leave policy that gives 16 weeks of paid leaves to new Moms and 8 weeks to new Dads, here’s another perspective: although it’s good, it’s not the most generous among Silicon Valley companies.
According to the Los Angeles Times:
The new policy will allow mothers to take up to four months of paid leave. Parents who adopt will be able to take eight weeks off from work.
Yahoo will also give new parents $500 to spend on baby items and related services. New pets will also get some freebies, Yahoo said. Employees can get Yahoo-branded gifts for their cats and dogs.” Read more…
I have to stand up and applaud Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg today.
No, not for leaning in, but for finally saying what every HR and Operations person in history has always thought, but every lawyer who works for our organizations would never allow us to do: Ask a simple question that has huge aspects to how we run our businesses.
“So, what’s the deal? Are you knocked up, or what? What’s the plan?” This is not discriminatory. It’s not biased. It’s a reality of our workforce. Read more…
By Eric B. Meyer
Does an employer have to provide a reasonable accommodation to a pregnant employee to allow her to perform the essential functions her job?
Americans with Disabilities Act? No. Pregnancy is not a disability. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act? Well that depends. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act is part of Title VII. But the current state of law is such that employers need only treat pregnant employees as they would other employees with temporary disabilities. However, most employers do afford accommodations (e.g., light duty) to employees with temporary disabilities. So, they would have to do the same for pregnant employees too.
But do I smell some duplicative federal legislation here? Read more…
In a 2008 interview with the Ladies Home Journal, Barack Obama stated that, “The best judge of whether or not a country is going to develop is how it treats its women.”
If that’s true, then it’s time to think seriously about how HR departments and corporate hiring managers treat pregnant women in the workplace.
Even though it’s 2012, pregnant women are still fighting an uphill battle against employers for their right to work. They’re being put on unpaid leave, they’re getting demoted and, far too often, they’re getting fired. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, pregnancy discrimination cases have risen by 35 percent over the past decade. In fact, it’s the cause of one in five discrimination complaints by women. Read more…