10 Jul Pregnancy Disability Exception
The undue burden exception to an employer’s obligation to accommodate a disability by providing a leave of absence, is not applicable in the case of a pregnancy disability. The reasoning behind this exception is that a pregnancy disability or medical condition is assumed to be for a finite period of time.
In other words, once the mother gives birth, recovers, and is no longer pregnant, the assumption is that she will no longer require an accommodation for the pregnancy-related medical condition or disability. So, an employer cannot defend against a claim of disability discrimination or pregnancy related disability discrimination by arguing an undue burden or hardship.
An employer can bring forward many arguments that they feel would be characterized as an undue burden. For instance, suppose it is a small employer and you are a key employee, like a CFO or some other C-level executive. If you were to need a leave of absence that goes on for a long period of time, the employer might successfully argue that your absence creates an undue hardship for the company because they have to essentially keep your job open for you and not replace you, or at least not replace you permanently.
A larger multinational company, in contrast, is more capable of absorbing an extended leave of absence of any employee, so that would be taken into consideration with respect to an undue hardship defense.
If you believe that your employer has failed to provide you a reasonable accommodation for a disability, pregnancy related or not, it is important to speak with a labor and employment attorney right away. A labor and employment attorney can help you evaluate whether you are experiencing unlawful conduct by your employer. A San Francisco and Bay Area labor and employment attorney at the Khadder Law Firm is experienced in evaluating all forms of disability accommodation matters. Contact the Khadder Law Firm today for a free consultation.