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Pregnancy and ADA

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources,Maternity Leave Laws

Q. An employee we hired two months ago has been absent frequently. She just informed us that: She is three months pregnant; is often too sick to work due to her pregnancy; has been told by her doctor that she can work only part-time for the next several months; and might be on bed rest for the last two months of her pregnancy. It is necessary for her to perform her job on a full-time basis without excessive absences. Is pregnancy covered under the ADA? Can we terminate her to hire someone who will be there full-time?

A. Pregnancy is generally not covered under the ADA because it's a temporary condition. Also, since the employee was hired only two months ago, she is not yet covered by the FMLA.

But, before terminating the employee, you should make sure you act consistently with past practice. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy, meaning that you should treat pregnancy-related leave or absences just like any other type of leave.

Have there been other employees who have missed a lot of time who have not been terminated (other than those on leave under the FMLA)? Will the employee be able to argue that she is being treated less favorably because of her pregnancy? You should review the facts carefully before making any decision. 

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