From the Hotline: Pregnancy as a Protected Class
Question: Is pregnancy a protected class in Kentucky?
Answer: Pregnancy is a protected class under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). We recommend that you address the situation in two separate aspects.
- If the employee is not meeting the defined performance expectations under the job description or expressed needs of the job, then the employer should follow its corrective action policy as it pertains to a progressive discipline process.
- If the employee has demonstrated certain skills in the past and is not applying the same skills today, then assess it further. Is it related to the pregnancy (for example, medical appointments are creating extended deadlines) or is it for no determined reason (for example, ongoing typos or mathematical errors that never existed before)? If it is possible that the pregnancy may be related to the concerns, then talk with the employee about how such issues can be corrected. If in fact the issues are completely separate, we recommend following your process and consulting with your legal counsel prior to any decision to terminate employment. Regardless, follow up all conversations with some form of documentation, email, or memo to ensure that the employee understands that you expect her to perform her job to the best of her ability and will work with her to reasonably accommodate her pregnant medical condition based upon her doctor’s written recommendations.