• Abortion Discrimination Prohibited By Employment Discrimination Laws
  • June 27, 2008
  • Law Firm: Fenwick & West LLP - Office
  • In Doe v. C.A.R.S., the Third Circuit Court of Appeal (which has jurisdiction over several northeastern states) recently determined that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits discrimination against a female employee because she has exercised her right to have an abortion, finding that abortion is medical condition "related" to pregnancy.  In C.A.R.S., the plaintiff was allowed to proceed with her claim because there was evidence that her termination was due to her having an abortion: she was terminated only 5 days after having a surgical abortion; her boss suggested that he disapproved of her abortion (i.e., he made the comment that "[s]he didn't want to take responsibility" for her actions); and the employer had a separate set of leave rules for every employee.

    While this case doesn't have any binding precedential value in California, California courts would likely similarly hold that abortion discrimination is prohibited under both Title VII and state law.  This case also stresses the importance of having uniformly applied leave policies, as a lack of consistency can be used to infer discrimination or retaliation.