Yes. Under these circumstances, an EEOC investigator would determine that the employer subjected Ingrid to discrimination based on her sex (i.e., pregnancy) in violation of Title VII. Employers can violate Title VII by making assumptions about the commitment of pregnant workers or their ability to perform certain physical tasks. Title VII’s prohibition against sex discrimination includes a prohibition against employment decisions based on pregnancy, even where an employer does not discriminate against women generally. As with other sex-based stereotypes, employers are prohibited from basing an adverse employment decision on stereotypical assumptions about the effect of pregnancy on an employee’s performance, regardless of whether the employer is acting out of hostility or a belief that it is acting in the employee’s best interest.
Employers also should keep in mind that discrimination against a caregiver could be an issue under these circumstances and that while the federal EEO laws do not prohibit discrimination against caregivers per se, the EEOC has described circumstances where discrimination against caregivers might constitute unlawful disparate treatment under Title VII. Employers may be liable if workers with caregiving responsibilities are subjected to offensive comments or other harassment because of sex (including pregnancy) or another protected characteristic, and the conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a hostile work environment. The same legal standards that apply to other forms of harassment prohibited by the EEO statutes also apply to unlawful harassment directed at caregivers or pregnant workers.
Source: EEOC Guidance: “Unlawful Disparate Treatment of Workers with Caregiving Responsibilities,” reported in the CCH Employment Practices Guide.