"Lactation is not pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition," held a Texas federal judge recently in denying the Title VII claim of a woman who alleged that she was fired for seeking to pump breast milk while on the job. We suggested in our February 9, 2012 blog that in our opinion this decision was headed for the dustbin of history.
As if to echo this opinion, the EEOC just conducted a meeting yesterday to follow up on its issuance of a 2009 guidance entitled “Employer Best Practices for Workers with Caregiving Responsibilities.” At yesterday’s meeting, experts noted that notwithstanding the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the FMLA, the number of pregnancy discrimination charges has spiked in recent years. One panelist argued that the EEOC should provide further guidance as to the rights of pregnant women and women who had given birth, to the end that employers be directed as to their duty to accommodate women “who require adjustments to work rules as a result of pregnancy or childbirth.”
It would appear that it is only a matter of time until this occurs, and employers should anticipate this by including such reasonable accommodations in their practices and policies.