Pregnancy Discrimination Is Sex Discrimination In WA

Pregnancy Discrimination Is Sex Discrimination In WA

In the state of Washington, do courts analyze pregnancy discrimination using an accommodation analysis (similar to that in a disability context), or do they analyze pregnancy discrimination as a form of sex discrimination? Here’s my point of view (NOTE: please read our DISCLAIMER before proceeding).



In the simplest terms, “[a]n employer who refuses to hire a job applicant because of her pregnancy is liable for sex discrimination under chapter 49.60 RCW (Washington Law Against Discrimination or WLAD), absent demonstration of a business necessity or proof of a bona fide occupational qualification.” Hegwine v. Longview Fibre Co., Inc., 162 Wn.2d 340, 344, 172 P.3d 688 (Wash. 2007) (citing RCW 49.60.180(1) and WAC 162-30-020) (hyperlinks added). 

The court in Hegwine ultimately held, “[U]nder the plain language of the WLAD and its interpretative regulations, pregnancy related employment discrimination claims are matters of sex discrimination. Such claims are not subject to an accommodation analysis similar to that used in the disability context.” Id. at 349.


Thus, it appears that Washington courts analyze pregnancy discrimination as a form of sex discrimination.


If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced Washington State Employment Discrimination Attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case. Please note: the information contained in this article is not offered as legal advice and will not form an attorney-client relationship with either this author or Williams Law Group, PS; please see our DISCLAIMER.


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