For more information please call  800.727.2766


Accommodation of Pregnancy-Related Condition Fell Under ADA

An employee seeking accommodation of a medical issue because of its impact on her pregnancy was permitted to proceed under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) but not Title VII.
Janasia Wadley worked as an infant teaching assistant at Kiddie Academy of Langthorne. Ms. Wadley had a history of urinary tract infections (UTI). Complications from such an infection had previously led her to miscarry a pregnancy. Thus, when Ms. Wadley found herself pregnant again, her doctor advised that she use the restroom more frequently to minimize her chances of developing another UTI. She provided a note reflecting this recommendation to her supervisor. On one occasion, she requested coverage to use the bathroom. She was the only caregiver in the classroom with six children. After waiting for over an hour to have someone relieve her, but after a co-worker had joined her, Ms. Wadley used the restroom. She was fired that day.
Ms. Wadley filed a lawsuit against her former employer for pregnancy discrimination in violation of Title VII and failure to accommodate under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The federal district court reviewing the matter dismissed her claim under Title VII.  Under that theory, she had to prove that she belonged to a protected class, sought an accommodation, was not accommodated, and the employer accommodated other individuals similar in their “ability or inability” to work. Ms. Wadley did not have any evidence reflecting that Kiddie Academy met the last element and had accommodated others. With regard to the ADA, Ms. Wadley had alleged sufficient facts to proceed to a jury. While pregnancy is not generally thought of as a disability under the ADA, related medical conditions may qualify. She had alleged that UTI’s made her pregnancy “high-risk,” could lead to severe problems in her pregnancy, and had provided a doctor’s note to support her assertion.