New guidelines for pregnancy in the work place

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - New regulations for pregnancy are now are in the workplace. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission shook things up after complaints from pregnant workers were up by 46% from 1997 to 2011.

They now say workplace discrimination or harassment is illegal and also explain how a woman's pregnancy can fall under the Americans with Disability Act.

"That employee may be able to come to work and perform their job throughout the entire pregnancy, however, if she brings it to your attention that there are complications or multiple appointments, that is where we fall into the temporary statuses of making reasonable accommodations during this time of pregnancy," Director of the Equal Employment Opportunity Augusta Office Jacqueline Humphrey said.

New guidelines stop employers from forcing pregnant workers to take leave and they also require employers to provide lighter duties.

But the guidelines don't just protect women. When it comes to parental leave, men and women now have to be treated equally.

The change came after the Supreme Court agreed to consider a case involving the EEOC trying to settle charges of job discrimination before filing lawsuits against employers.

"I think it was very important because of the fact that so many people are unknowing of the fact and if it's not in writing or something that mandates provisions be made, then it wouldn't be made," Humphrey said. "How many women have been told no or lost their employment because of a temporary status of being pregnant."

Also under the new guidelines, lactation is covered as a pregnancy-related medical condition after childbirth.

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