Prior to Congress' recent amendments to the ADA, few if any lawyers would have given serious consideration to using the ADA as an avenue to sue for a pregnancy-related condition instead of bringing a traditional pregnancy discrimination claim pursuant to Title VII. The fact that the EEOC has recently filed a lawsuit seeking to do just that speaks volumes about the how much stronger the ADA is perceived to be by practitioners following the recent amendments.
The EEOC’s lawsuit charges that D.R. Horton (NYSE:DHI) refused to accommodate a female project manager in Kirkland, Wash., when it denied her additional unpaid leave time after her doctor placed her on bed rest for over seven months as a result of pregnancy-related complications. Although the company initially provided some leave time, it finally stated it was against company policy to provide the employee any more leave time, even if it was unpaid, and then fired her.
The EEOC, filing suit on the employee's behalf, has apparently determined that it can bring a stronger case under the new and improved ADA than it could by utilizing Title VII's protections against pregnancy discrimination. This will be an interesting case to watch.
According to the company's website, D.R. Horton is the biggest home builder in the United States and a Fortune 500 company with operations in 28 states and headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas.