ANALYSIS: Increase in pregnancy deposits continues in 2021

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Six months ago, we looked at federal pregnancy discrimination lawsuits and found that the number of filings had steadily increased between 2016 and the end of 2020, and accelerated last year, despite the pandemic and the decline. birth rates.

In the middle of 2021, we checked the data and the number of deposits keeps increasing.

Deposits go up, fees go down

This time around, we’ve broken the analysis into first half / second half periods to assess any increase in the number of federal pregnancy discrimination cases so far in 2021.

According to Bloomberg Legal Files, 2021 slightly exceeded last year to set a new record for first-half filings, while 2020 and 2021 have more than double the number of first-half filings compared to the 2016 baseline for this analysis.

There was also a year-over-year increase in the number of filings in the second half of 2016 to 2020. And, more filings took place in the second half of each year than in the first half of the year. . If these trends continue, 2021 would set the new record for annual filings.

The rise in federal prosecutions is particularly striking given the constant decline in charges of discrimination in pregnancy filed with the EEOC during the period 2016-2020, although the EEOC data does not include charges that were filed in duplicate with an agency of State.

Employers must be prepared to step up the pace of federal returns as more employees return to the office, especially if new federal pregnancy legislation becomes law.

RTO complications, Extend protections?

As an increasing number of employees return to the office, employers will face complicated issues that may prompt other allegations of pregnancy discrimination, including vaccination warrants, hybrid schedules and requests for layout of the workplace. Indeed, the EEOC Covid-19 FAQ include specific advice on vaccinations, pregnant employees and their rights under Title VII, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and the ADA. Employers must also navigate State and local laws protecting pregnant workers from discrimination.

Employers should also closely monitor a bipartisan bill that would expand pregnancy accommodations and protections at the federal level, arming employees with additional grounds to file a complaint. the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act moved to the Senate after it passed the House in May and has the support of the White House.

Risk mitigation measures

The long-term upward trend in federal pregnancy discrimination litigation only tells part of the story, as pregnancy discrimination complaints can be resolved by the government. EEOC or state agencies, and cases can also be brought in state courts.

But the trend alone should be enough to convince employers to insure their employment policies are up to date, train managers in how to respond to pregnancy accommodation requests, and stay up to date with the latest federal, State, and local legal developments.

Bloomberg Law subscribers can find related content on our New parents and future parents page.

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