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6th Circuit’s surprise call: Pregnancy ‘impairments’ are disabilities

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Human Resources

The ADA expressly excludes pregnancy as a disability. The law says so, and I’ve always believed it to be true.

But now a new decision has turned that notion on its head—and that may mean you’ll have to make some changes to your policies.

Ohio Employment Law covered this case last month in “Don’t let stereotypes dictate pregnancy policies.” Now we bring you more details.

Pregnant, worried, then fired

Heather Spees was a welder-trainee for James Marine. Shortly after being hired, she learned she was pregnant. A prior pregnancy had ended in a miscarriage. Concerned, Spees talked to her brother, who was a foreman at James Marine. She also spoke with her own foreman and her obstetrician, who originally cleared her for work without restrictions.

Spees’ foreman, however, told her to revisit her doctor and get a note calling for light duty. Then he assigned her to the tool room away from her welding duties, telling her, “For right n...(register to read more)

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