When are Employee Pregnancy Policies Considered Unequal Treatment?
Earlier this week, D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department changed its policy regarding pregnant firefighters. The change limits pregnant firefighters to 30-days of light duty during and after pregnancy.
In a move to cut overtime and other administrative costs, the department is now limiting pregnant firefighters to 30 days of light duty or desk duty during a pregnancy. After that, the employee must use accrued sick leave or annual leave to cover the rest of the pregnancy or any post pregnancy time off...
Under the old policy, a pregnant firefighter might work several months on light duty until she was due to give birth. Under the new policy, the firefighter could face several months of no pay at all.
Could this be considered unequal treatment of firefighters simply because they are pregnant? Is the D.C. government putting itself at risk of a pregnancy discrimination act claim because of the policy? Over the next two posts we will examine how the pregnancy discrimination act has been enforced in recent years. Then we will take a look what characteristics of a policy could be considered as violating the pregnancy discrimination act.