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Infertility Treatments

Women taking leave for infertility treatment may not be discriminated against in any manner.  PDA protects not only women who are pregnant but those who intend to become pregnant as well.[i]  In Hall v. Nalco Co. 534 F.3d 644 (7th Cir. Ill. 2008) the appellant, former employee of Nalco filed an appeal of the district court decision granting summary judgment to Nalco, Hall’s former employer.  Hall had filed a case pursuant to 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000e(k) of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) in the district court.  Hall alleged that she was terminated for taking breaks from work to undergo infertility treatments.  The district court held that infertility was a gender neutral condition and that such claim cannot be raised as sexual discrimination. However, the court of appeals held that Hall took breaks to undergo certain special procedures for child bearing which are performed on females alone.  Therefore, the court held that infertility treatment in that case was a gender specific treatment and not a gender neutral treatment.  Consequently, the appellate court reversed the district court’s judgment and remanded the case.  

 [i] Fundamentals of Employment Law, Karen E. Ford, Kerry E. Notestine, Richard N. Hill

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