Best Ohio Pregnancy Discrimination Attorney Answer: Is Pregnancy Considered A Disability? Does My Employer Have To Accommodate My Pregnancy Related Work Restrictions? What Should I Do If My Supervisor Will Not Accommodate My Pregnancy Related Limitations?
Pregnancy is not automatically a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and Ohio law.
“What? That doesn’t make any sense,” said my pregnant sister-in-law. She was further confounded when I told her that my dust allergies are considered a disability under the ADA and Ohio law, but that her pregnancy was not.
But, that does not mean that your supervisor or job can avoid accommodating pregnancy related conditions and limitation. Unfortunately, what follows is a very academic breakdown of the answer of why a boss has to accommodate your pregnancy or pregnancy relegated conditions, because each individual situation requires the application of a different employment law.
Now, as any woman who has ever been pregnant will tell you, being pregnant is no walk in the park – especially in the last few weeks. Everything becomes painful and exhausting, and some women may even be told by their doctor that they cannot do certain things they usually do, like lift heavy objects, work for long periods of time, or even stand for longer than an hour or two without a break. How is this not considered a disability, while allergies are? It all comes down to the way the ADA defines “disabled.”
Under the ADA, a “disability” is a “physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.” One may also be considered disabled if one had a history of such impairments, or if one is regarded by their employer as disabled.
The ADA further provides an illustrative list of “Major Life Activities,” which include caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, working and the operation of a major bodily function, such as functions of the immune system, normal cell growth and digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine and reproductive functions. Thus, whereas allergies to tree pollen and dust (which limits breathing and arguably other Major Life Activities) almost always involve limitations, not all pregnancies do. In fact, many pregnancies are trouble free. As a result, pregnancy is not in itself a disability. With that in mind however, pregnancy can easily cause other conditions which limit several of the Major Life Activities defined by the ADA. As a result, pregnant women who suffer from complications or impairments related to their pregnancy may still be entitled to protection under the ADA.
What about pregnant women without complications? Does your employer have to grant you reasonable accommodations for your pregnancy? The answer is yes, even if you are not considered disabled under the ADA. On one hand, the ADA imposes a duty on employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees if the accommodation will allow them to perform the essential functions of their job. On the other hand, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and Ohio law requires employers to treat pregnant employees with limitations which are not considered disabilities under the ADA the same as other, non-pregnant employees with similar limitations caused by a covered disability.
Essentially, it just comes down to picking the right employment laws to apply in order to enforce your pregnancy related rights. Still confused? No worries, that is why our employment discrimination lawyers are here to make sure you understand and help.
If you have limitations resulting from your pregnancy, and your employer won’t accommodate you, or if you are facing discrimination or harassment simply because you are pregnant, protect your legal rights — call the right attorney. Under federal and Ohio employment laws, employers cannot harass, fire, wrongfully terminate, discriminate against, demote, or wrongfully discipline a female employee just because she got pregnant. When you call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential initial consultation at 866-797-6040, you will meet with an attorney from the Spitz law firm to discuss wrongful discrimination claims and help you determine the best way to pursue your gender/sex discrimination claims. Our pregnancy discrimination lawyers know your rights and will fight to protect them.
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