Court: Pregnancy was not a disability for nursing home worker

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A U.S. Court of Appeals has upheld a decision to dismiss the claim of a nursing home worker who says she experienced pregnancy and disability discrimination.

Victoria Serednyj, who was an activity director at a Beverly Golden Living nursing home in Valparaiso, IN, found out she was pregnant in January of 2007. When she began to experience pregnancy-related complications, her physician put her on bed rest for two weeks, and then issued light-duty restrictions. Serednyj's position regularly required her to lift heavy objects, move tables and operate wheelchairs, including heavier “geri chairs,” according to court documents.

The facility denied her request for modified work. It fired her since she was unable to work without restrictions, and she did not qualify for time off under the Family Medical Leave Act. Serednyj filed a lawsuit in a circuit court under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act as well as failure-to-accommodate claims covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In upholding the lower court's ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals judges said there was not convincing evidence that Beverly had shown intentional discrimination against Serednjy. Pregnancy is not considered an impairment by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or fall under ADA regulations, according to the decision.

“Her pregnancy-related impairments were of limited duration, and there is no evidence that she has suffered any long-term limitations as a result,” the Aug. 26 decision states.

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