What’s Protected Under The Pregnancy Discrimination Act?

Discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions constitutes unlawful sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Employers cannot treat someone who is pregnant or has a pregnancy related conditions any differently than other employees or applicants with similar work abilities.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, which amended the Civil Rights Act,  applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments.

The following protections apply under The Pregnancy Discrimination Act:

  • Hiring and Working Conditions:  As an employer, you cannot refuse to hire a woman due to a pregnancy or a related condition, as long as she is able to fulfill the requirements of the position. It is also unlawful to discriminate based on pregnancy when it comes to other aspects of employment, including pay, job assignments, promotions, layoffs, training, fringe benefits, firing and any other term or condition of employment.
  • Temporary Disability and Maternity Leave: If a pregnant employee becomes temporarily disabled due to the pregnancy, they must be treated the same as any other temporarily disabled employee. If you as an employer allow temporarily disabled employees to modify tasks or perform alternative assignments, then you must also allow an employee who is temporarily disabled, due to pregnancy, to do the same. The same is true when it comes to disability leave. Employers are required to hold open a job for a pregnancy related absence the same length of time that jobs are held open for employees on sick leave.
  • Health Insurance: Any health insurance provided to employees must cover expenses for pregnancy related conditions on the same basis as costs for other medical conditions. In addition, pregnancy-related expenses must be reimbursed in the same method as those incurred for other medical conditions.
  • Fringe Benefits: Accrual and crediting of seniority, vacation calculation and pay increases during a leave must be handled in the same manner for a pregnant employee on leave as it would be for any other temporarily disabled employee.

It’s important to treat a pregnant employee in the same manner that you would treat any employee in all aspects of employment. If you have questions or concerns regarding a pregnant employee at your workplace, please contact BCN Services at 1-800-891-9911 or click here to be directed to our contact page.

 

Amanda Cline (200x184)

Amanda Cline, Partnership Manager

 

Time is Money: What is Compensable Time?

Working outside of one’s scheduled work time without compensation is generally known as “working” off- the-clock. The United States Department of Labor (DOL) recognizes off-the-clock work as one of the most common violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The Fair Labor Standards Act provides information about the type of work for which an employee must be compensated. Under the FLSA, a work day begins when an employee starts his or her “principal activity,” and ends when finishing the last principal activity of the day. The FLSA definition of a work day may be longer than an employee’s scheduled shift or normal office hours.

Listed below are some of the more common off-the-clock violations:

  • Requiring employees to work extra hours without pay.
  • Requiring employees to perform work before or after they clock in for their shift.
  • Failing to pay employees for the entire time they are performing work, not just the time they are “clocked in.”
  • Automatically deducting a meal period from an employee’s hours when no meal period was actually taken.
  • Deducting break time(s) from an employees work hours.
  • Requesting that employees work on the weekend without clocking in.
  • Failing to compensate employees who bring work home and continue to work outside of their “regular” workday.
  • Failure to pay employees for pre- and post-shift work. These activities involve “donning” (putting on) or “doffing” (taking off) protective equipment or uniforms.

Our advice is to not leave employees guessing about your Company’s policy on off-the-clock work. Make it clear that off-the-clock work is not permitted and that there may be disciplinary action for it. Set up a process encouraging employees to report off-the-clock work to the HR Department without fear of retaliation.

The policy should give clear instruction to employees, as an employer’s effort to prevent off-the-clock work will be a key element of its affirmative defense of an off-the-clock work claim.

As always, it is imperative to know and understand all of the regulations that apply to your business at all levels: federal, state, and local. Failure to know and apply these regulations can lead to hefty fines.

BCN Services’ Human Resource Department  is available to you to help in implementing a compensable time policy, if you do not currently have one in place. Call us at 1-800-891-9911 or visit us at www.bcnservices.com.

 

 

Kate Douglass (200x174)

Kate Douglass, Senior HR Specialist