After 30 years, EEOC updates pregnancy discrimination guidelines

After 30 years, EEOC updates pregnancy discrimination guidelines

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The guidelines address things like maternity leave, and lightening the work load for pregnant women. New mom and full-time hairstylist Kerri Vannoy says she appreciates the update. The guidelines address things like maternity leave, and lightening the work load for pregnant women. New mom and full-time hairstylist Kerri Vannoy says she appreciates the update.
"There's definitely struggles, but I mean 90 percent of the people have to go back to work these days, and it's just something you get used to and you deal with it the best way you can," Kerri Vannoy said. "There's definitely struggles, but I mean 90 percent of the people have to go back to work these days, and it's just something you get used to and you deal with it the best way you can," Kerri Vannoy said.
By KAYLA STRAYER
6 News Reporter


KNOXVILLE (WATE) - After 30 years the government is now updating protections for pregnant women on the job. New guidelines from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission aim to stop discrimination and harassment of pregnant employees, and make clear that it's against the law.

The guidelines address things like maternity leave, and lightening the work load for pregnant women. New mom and full-time hairstylist Kerri Vannoy says she appreciates the update. 

"There's definitely struggles, but I mean 90 percent of the people have to go back to work these days, and it's just something you get used to and you deal with it the best way you can," Vannoy said.

She says her employer, Salon Visage, made the transition back to work easy after taking three months of maternity leave.

"Any needs that I had or any requests that I had they were sure to work with me and they were awesome."

Her manager Monty Howard says they deal with pregnant employees on a regular basis, so they're already following the new guidelines.

"We think it's great that everyone is catching up with what we feel is right to begin with," Howard said.

The guidelines state pregnant women have the right to lighter duties if needed, and employers can't force a woman to take maternity leave. Also, it counts breastfeeding as a medical condition, so new mothers should have a flexible schedule and a private place to express milk if needed. It also states women and men should be treated on equal terms when it comes to parental leave.

Employee rights attorney Jesse Nelson says he deals with a number of local pregnancy discrimination cases. He says no laws have changed, but this is a good step forward.

"It does give some insight as to what the EEOC is going to be looking at when they investigate charges of pregnancy discrimination," Nelson said.

Nelson says these guidelines are for any business with 15 or more employees. If you feel you have a pregnancy discrimination case, he says to first read your employee handbook, talk to your boss about the issue, document anything you can, then contact a legal expert if needed.
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