Short-Term Pregnancy Complications Found Not to Be a Disability


In a case of first impression in a court of appeals, the Seventh Circuit recently ruled that pregnancy-related complications can rise to the level of a "disability" within the meaning of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). However, such complications, if they are of limited duration and dissipate once a woman gives birth, may not be "substantially limiting." Under those circumstances, no "disability" exists and no duty of reasonable accommodation is owed.

In Serednyj v. Beverly Healthcare, LLC, the plaintiff — who planned, coordinated, and conducted activities for nursing-home residents — became pregnant again shortly after having a miscarriage. She continued to perform her duties, some of which were strenuous, for about two months. When she began to experience spotting and cramping, however, her physician restricted her activities to the point that she was unable to perform many of her duties. Due to her short tenure with the nursing home, she was not eligible for FMLA leave, and her employer let her go. She sued, contending among other things that her employer had failed to provide her with a reasonable accommodation and had otherwise discriminated against her in violation of the ADA.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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