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Should Pregnancy Be Considered a Disability?

A recent paper by a University of Dayton law professor, Jeannette Cox, puts forth the idea that pregnant women should be covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), in order to protect them from discrimination in the workplace.

Because the ADA doesn’t recognize pregnancy as a disability, Cox argues, it leaves pregnant women vulnerable to employment discrimination on the job. Her studies found pregnant women at risk for losing their jobs when “reasonable adjustments” weren’t made for their condition—in one example, a retail worker was fired for needing to drink water during her shifts at work.

Because the ADA covers people with “minor temporary physical limitations comparable to pregnancy’s physical effects,” Cox believes that pregnancy fits under this umbrella. Disabled workers may forgo tasks that include heavy lifting, bending, or prolonged sitting or standing. Pregnant women do not have this protection, and some may end up being fired or quit because they cannot do the work.

Of course, Cox’s conclusions are only academic. At this time there are no plans to amend the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, her research does bring up interesting discussion around pregnancy and workplace discrimination.

Pregnancy discrimination is illegal. However, pregnancy discrimination in New Jersey can be difficult to prove. Generally, these claims involve upon circumstantial evidence rather than direct proof.

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Neil H. Deutsch

Neil H. Deutsch has been practicing law for over 35 years and is known as a skilled negotiator in employment and discrimination law. He believes in a bottom-line approach of risk analysis and cost effectiveness for his clients. "Case evaluation is something we take seriously," says Mr. Deutsch who seeks top net dollar for his…

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Bruce L. Atkins
Senior Partner

Bruce L. Atkins is the Senior Managing Partner at Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt P.C., a prominent plaintiff employment law firm in the tri-state area. Mr. Atkins believes employees’ rights should be aggressively pursued when they’ve been wrongfully dealt with by their employers. He brings this philosophy to his practice when considering each case and its…

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Adam J. Kleinfeldt

Adam J. Kleinfeldt joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in March of 2015.  He primarily represents individuals in employment litigation such as discrimination, retaliation and whistle blowing matters. He has extensive experience in all phases of the litigation process. Adam has obtained significant results for his clients, including a $525,000 jury verdict in a sexual…

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Debra M. McGarvey

Debra M. McGarvey joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in December 2019. She has extensive experience defending employees and employers in state and federal court in employment litigation matters. She has represented clients on various issues arising out of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), the…

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Carly Skarbnik Meredith

Carly Skarbnik Meredith, Esq. is a Partner at the firm. Carly has focused her career exclusively in the field of employment law. She has a plethora of experience representing both employees and employers with their employment issues, needs, and concerns. She believes representing both employees and employers has made her an extremely well-rounded client advocate.…


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