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Pregnancy discrimination in the workplace is an intractable problem, one that has resulted in a startling number of claims each year to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)—rising at a faster rate than women are joining the workforce—and increased media attention. But it has also led to extensive litigation that raises, in a variety of contexts, the question of what constitutes illegal pregnancy discrimination under federal law.

In light of these developments, the EEOC has just issued new Enforcement Guidance on pregnancy discrimination—its first in several decades—to explain its interpretation of applicable statutes. In this column, I’ll explain key aspects of the guidance, along with its relevance to Young v. UPS, a pregnancy discrimination case that the U.S. Supreme Court has just agreed to hear.

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