Monday, June 27, 2022

Abortion and Employment Law in Pennsylvania

For obvious reasons, I'm revisiting some posts about abortion-related employment issues. First, in 2010, I noted a Pennsylvania employment law that addresses abortion and unlawful discriminatory practices. The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA), includes the following provision:

It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice . . . . For any public or private agency . . . [to] impose any burdens in terms of conditions of employment upon, or otherwise discriminate against any applicant . . . or any physician, nurse, staff member, student or employe thereof, on account of the willingness or refusal . . . to perform or participate in, abortion or sterilization by reason of objection thereto on moral, religious or professional grounds, or because of any statement or other manifestation of attitude by such person with respect to abortion or sterilization.

43 P.S. §955.1. There is, however, a carveout for clinics that operate "exclusively for the performance of abortion or sterilization or directly related procedures."

I also addressed some federal protection under Title VII. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act provisions under Title VII prohibit discrimination "on the basis of pregnancy . . . or related medical conditions." The Third Circuit has held that "related medical conditions" includes abortion:

Clearly, the plain language of the statute, together with the legislative history and the EEOC guidelines, support a conclusion that an employer may not discriminate against a woman employee because she has exercised her right to have an abortion.  

Doe v. C.A.R.S. Prot. Plus, 527 F.3d 358, 364 (3d Cir. 2008). 

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