The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin recently decided that employers can exclude pregnant workers from light-duty work, if they have a nondiscriminatory reason for doing so.
On Aug. 16, the court ruled in favor of Walmart’s previous policy of offering light-duty work to employees who were injured on the job, but not to pregnant employees.
The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act states that women affected by pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions must be treated the same as nonpregnant employees who are similar in their ability or inability to work.
In recent years, more states have passed laws prohibiting pregnancy discrimination.
By way of example, a pregnant employee may have a pregnancy related health condition, such as back pain, that is a covered disability, if the back pain significantly limits a major life activity, such as lifting. If a pregnant employee does qualify as having a disability, then the employer should make a reasonable accommodation to such employee.
The laws regarding an employee pregnancy are very complex and should be reviewed on a case by case basis.
Stuart J. Oberman, Esq.
Stuart J. Oberman is the founder and President of Oberman Law Firm. Mr. Oberman graduated from Urbana University and received his law degree from John Marshall Law School. Mr. Oberman has been practicing law for over 30 years, and before going into private practice, Mr. Oberman was in-house counsel for a Fortune 500 Company.
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