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Does pregnancy count as a disability?

On Behalf of | Jun 26, 2023 | Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) |

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against disabled individuals in various areas, including the workplace. It requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations, such as reserving parking or allowing service animals, to help disabled workers perform essential job functions. Although the ADA does not cover pregnancy per se, it recognizes certain related conditions as temporary disabilities.

Pregnancy-related disabilities

Pregnancy generally does not prevent women from being effective at their jobs, but it often causes uncomfortable and inconvenient body changes. Two federal laws protect pregnant workers, and one of them is the ADA.

The ADA recognizes that pregnancy can result in various conditions that might cause temporary impairments in some women. It does not provide a list of said conditions, but it cites a few likely examples, including:

  • Pregnancy-related anemia
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Swelling of the legs
  • Pregnancy-related carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Gestational diabetes

The ADA understands that not all women develop disabilities because of pregnancy, and even those that do might not require changes in their workplace accommodations.

Pregnancy-related accommodations

Federal law generally requires employers to treat workers with pregnancy-related impairments like disabled employees. This treatment involves providing reasonable workplace accommodations tailored to help pregnant workers perform their job roles despite their current limitations. These accommodations might include the following:

  • Access to remote work opportunities
  • Temporarily giving lighter tasks
  • Assigning a different work schedule
  • Allowing the employee to sit when they would typically stand

Federal laws provide clear guidelines for preventing discrimination against pregnant and disabled employees. If you believe you are a victim of discrimination, an attorney can help you build a strong case and fight for your rights.