Pregnancy Discrimination Act doesn’t apply to partner of pregnant woman

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in Human Resources,Maternity Leave Laws

The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) protects women from discrimination based on pregnancy or the ability to become pregnant. But men who are fired while their girlfriends or wives are pregnant can’t bring a PDA lawsuit—only pregnant women themselves can, and only if they are also employees.

Recent case: Charles Griffin and Julia Yarden, who were boyfriend and girlfriend, worked together at a farm run by the Sisters of Saint Francis, a Roman Catholic order of nuns.]

The nun in charge of the farm frequently asked the couple to be discreet and warned them not to violate Catholic religious rules—such as having a child out of wedlock. Around the time Yarden became pregnant with Griffin’s child, Griffin began receiving criticism for the way he ran the farm. The nuns fired him shortly after the pair announced their engagement and Yarden began wearing maternity clothes.

Griffin sued, alleging that he had been fired because Yarden was pregnant. He argued that he was protected by the PDA from any adverse employment action based on his ability to father a child with a fellow employee.

Not so, said the appeals court. While the PDA would have protected Yarden from discharge based on her pregnancy, it offered no such protection to her child’s father. (Griffin, Yarden v. Sisters of Saint Francis, No. 06-3312, 7th Cir., 2007) 

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