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Pregnancy Discrimination Act

Hi. I am researching Georgia’s laws on pregnancy and was wondering what the difference between the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act and Georgia’s Fair Employment Practices Act was? Both seem to state that you must treat pregnancy as you would any other short term disability. Why have a state law that only covers public employees that says the same thing as a federal law? And doesn’t the ADA not consider a normal pregnancy a disability? Thanks! Kendall

Hi Kendall,

The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. Basically, as you state, a covered employer must treat women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions in the same manner in all terms and conditions of employment as other applicants or employees with similar abilities or limitations. The PDA covers all aspects of employment, including firing, hiring, promotions, and fringe benefits (such as leave and health insurance benefits). .

The PDA is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act which covers employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments.

The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with covered disabilities unless doing so would cause an undue hardship, meaning a significant difficulty or expense.

Under the ADA, an individual is considered to have a disability if he has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment or is regarded as having such an impairment.

You’re correct in stating that pregnancy alone is not considered a covered disability under the ADA because it doesn’t meet part of the definition of a disability. However, complications resulting from pregnancy and childbirth, as well as conditions exacerbated by pregnancy and childbirth, may be considered impairments and may therefore be covered disabilities.

The Georgia Fair Employment Practices Act (FEPA) prohibits state agencies from discriminating against any individual on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, or retaliation. Furthermore, the same leave benefits provided to employees with temporary disabilities must be provided to women disabled by pregnancy.

This law is comparable to several federal laws enforced by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Pregnancy Discrimination Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and Americans with Disabilities Act. However, the major difference from Georgia’s FEPA is that these federal laws cover all employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments.

It’s very common for state laws to mirror federal laws. Doing so further encourages employers to obey the law and provides no gray area for misinterpretation of prohibited activities. Some states may adopt laws that pertain only to public employees in response to federal legislation or to address concerns mainly found in the public sector at the time. HTH!

This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 29th, 2015 at 9:20 pm and is filed under
Labor Laws.
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