Do I have a case for pregnancy discrimination?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Do I have a case for pregnancy discrimination?

I am an RN who works doing temporary travel work. I started a contract about 6 weeks ago; at that time I was 27 weeks pregnant. I turned in pregnancy medical restrictions to the hospital about a month later. I was informed the next day that my contract was terminated and I was not to return to work. Further I was told if my restrictions were lifted they would hire me back. The facility did not attempt to accommodate my restrictions, instead terminated my contract. Restrictions were no lifting 25-30 lbs/no straining and I couldn’t work more than 8 hour days, but could work 5 days per week for a total of 40 hours. My contract stated my anticipated hours per week were 36, so I would be able to fulfill required job hours. Do I have a case for pregnancy discrimination/a lawsuit?

Asked on April 5, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, South Dakota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The issue is whether or not to do your job, you have to lift--or at least be able to lift--more than 25 - 30 lbs or strain. If you have to be able to support or lift a patient, for example, then they could terminate you until the restriction is lifted, because while the restriction is in place, you cannot do your job: an employer is no required to retain employees who cannot do their jobs. 
If your restrictions do not prevent you from doing your job, then yes--this may be pregnancy-related employment discrimination, since so long as you can do the job, they cannot terminate you for being pregnant. If you think this is the case, you should contact the federal EEOC or your state equal/civil rights agency to see about filing a complaint.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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