Normal pregnancy difficulties aren’t ADA or MHRA disabilities

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources,Maternity Leave Laws

Pregnant women have many legal protections under Title VII’s sex discrimination provisions, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the FMLA. They rarely, however, qualify as disabled.

That’s because normal pregnancies may create temporary difficulties, but they’re not severe enough to count as substantial limitations under the ADA or material limitations under the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA). Thus, most pregnant women aren’t entitled to reasonable accommodations.

Recent case: Donita Stusse worked in the shoe department at a Von Maur store when she found out she was pregnant. She had fainted several times during past pregnancies, and her doctor said the store should accommodate her with a stool and regular breaks.

Von Maur fired her, and Stusse sued for denial of accommodations.

The court said she was experiencing a normal pregnancy, which isn’t a disability under the ADA or the MHRA. (Stusse v. Von Maur, No. 08-1088, DC MN, 2009)

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