Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Pregnant Worker's Severe Morning Sickness Not Disability, but Retaliation Claim Survives

Plaintiff failed to prove disability discrimination because she didn't show that her pregnancy and morning sickness constituted a “disability” under federal or state law, a federal judge ruledNov. 22 (Wonasue v. Univ. of Md. Alumni Ass'n, 2013 BL 326278, D. Md., No. 8:11-cv-03657-DKC, 11/22/13).
The court reasoned that pregnancy alone isn't a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act or the Maryland Employment Discrimination Law. It added that pregnancy-based medical complications may rise to the level of disability but felt contrained by 4th Circuit precedent which found that a similar plaintiff did not establish that this condition  substantially limited a worker in the performance of a major life activity, as required to prove a disability.
But she may go forward with a retaliation claim under the Rehabilitation Act, the court decided.
Denying an employee experiencing pregnancy-related complications permission to work from home may constitute an adverse employment action for purposes of federal disability rights law.

Employment Discrimination | Permalink


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