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Leaders in EEO/AA Compliance


Newsletter Issue 4


Practical Approaches
to Resolving EEO/AA Problems
Issue #4
 
Pregnancy-Related Disabilities must be Treated as Other Disabilities for Benefits
Question to EEOC: Pregnancy-related disabilities must be treated like any other disability in regard to fringe benefits, including retirement plans. Whether an annuity find under the Employees Retirement Income Security Act is required to provide retirement benefits to pregnant plan participants when the trust document allows disbursement of those benefits to employees who “become disabled and incapable of continuing to work as a result of bodily injury or disease.”

EEOC answer: If retirement benefits are denied for a disability that results from pregnancy, and denial is based on pregnancy, rather than the disability itself, the Americans with Disabilities Act would not apply. But under the circumstances, Title VII of the CRA 1964 and the pregnancy Discrimination Act might apply.

Pregnancy is not an impairment and so does not constitute a disability within the meaning of the ADA.; however, complications resulting from pregnancy are impairments , though, they may not necessarily be disabilities. Therefore, as a result, an employee cannot establish disparate treatment under the ADA based solely on pregnancy.

"In general, for purposes of fringe benefits, including retirement plans, the guidelines require treating pregnancy-related temporary disabilities in the same manner as other temporary disabilities and pregnancy-related long-term disabilities in the same manner as other long-term disabilities."

Non-discriminatory Reasons for Involuntary Termination

Recently we listed legitimate non-discriminatory reasons for not hiring applicants. We thought it would be helpful to give you a list of non-discriminatory reasons for terminating employees.

The following are generally accepted as legitimate reasons for terminating employees involuntarily. Since any reason can actually be made discriminatory, it is important to ensure that the reason stated is correct and that discrimination is not a part of the action.
  • Inability to perform tasks:
    • Incompetent, and/or
    • Lacks necessary skills, licenses, certificates, etc.
  • Excessive Absenteeism and Tardiness
  • Insubordination
  • Position Elimination
  • Seasonal Employment
  • Abandonment of Job
  • Refusal to Transfer to other Job or Duty Station
  • Misrepresentation of Qualification on Application
  • Undisciplined or Unethical Behavior:
    • Fighting, fraud, harassment
    • Destroying company property
    • Stealing company or employee property
    • Flagrantly disobeying supervisory directions, uncooperative behavior
    • Uncontrolled personality problems
    • Under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs on the job
Note of Caution: Reasons for termination that could result in defamation of character charges or crimes such as theft of company property should be listed on the termination log as confidential. Such information would be made available to an investigation agency of the government on an at need basis.



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