By Mark Kobata
Mar. 13, 2014
Jennifer Latowski was a certified nursing assistant for Northwoods Nursing Center for a year when she informed her supervisors in September 2008 that she was pregnant. When Latowski was asked to provide a doctor’s note asking about any work restrictions, her doctor’s note stated “only restriction lifting over 50 pounds.” In response, Northwoods told her she could no longer work because Northwoods only accommodated employee restrictions resulting from work-related incidents. Latowski sued Northwoods in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, which granted summary judgment to Northwoods because Latowski was not “qualified” under the employer’s “pregnancy-blind policy.”
On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit reversed the decision, holding that “a reasonable jury could conclude that Northwoods’ business decision — to implement a policy terminating otherwise qualified workers whose doctors impose any restrictions arising from nonworkplace injuries, even if those restrictions do not limit the employees’ ability to competently perform their jobs — is so lacking in merit as to be a pretext for discrimination.” The 6th Circuit remanded the case for trial. Latowski v. Northwoods Nursing Ctr., 2013 BL 352840, 6th Cir., No. 12-2408(Dec. 23, 2013).
Impact: A strict “no-restrictions” policy may provide a basis for pregnancy discrimination, if the employee is not limited from performing her job.
James E. Hall, Mark T. Kobata and Marty Denis are partners in the law firm Barlow, Kobata and Denis, which has offices in Los Angeles and Chicago.firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Workforce on Twitter at@workforcenews.To comment, email
We build robust scheduling & attendance software for businesses with 500+ frontline workers. With custom BI reporting and demand-driven scheduling, we help our customers reduce labor spend and increase profitability across their business. It's as simple as that.
ComplianceMinimum Wage by State in 2022 – All You Need to Know
Summary The federal minimum wage rate is $7.25, but the rate is higher in 30 states, along with Washing...
federal law, minimum wage, pay rates, state law, wage law compliance
LegalCalifornia’s push for a 32-hour workweek explained, and how to prepare
Summary: California is considering a 32-hour workweek bill for businesses with over 500 staff 4 day wee...
32 hour workweek, 4 day workweek, california, legislature, overtime
LegalA business owner’s guide to restaurant tipping law
Business owners in the restaurant industry are in a unique position when it comes to employee tips. As ...
restaurants, tip laws, tipping