Civil Rights Reporter
Media > Newsletters > Civil Rights Reporter > October 2013 > Mayorga v. Alorica Inc.

Civil Rights Reporter RSS feeds

Mayorga v. Alorica Inc.

Mayorga v. Alorica Inc., U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103766 (July 25, 2012)
Issue: Whether medical conditions resulting from a high-risk pregnancy can be considered a disability within the meaning of the ADA.

Summary: Silvia Mayorga worked as a customer service representative for Alorica Inc. During her employment, Mayorga became pregnant. She suffered from a number of complications related to her pregnancy, and she was admitted to the emergency room on three separate occasions. As a result, Mayorga’s doctor ordered her on bed rest for three weeks. Mayorga requested three weeks of unpaid leave from her direct supervisor, who initially denied the request, stating: “I am not going to treat you special because you are pregnant.” However, a human resources representative subsequently approved three weeks of unpaid leave.
Upon returning to work from her three-week leave of absence, Mayorga was informed that she had been terminated. A human resources representative told her: “Sorry. I cannot accommodate you. This is a company. We need you here. So, since you can’t be here because you are pregnant, we cannot accommodate you. Re-apply after you have your baby.”
As a consequence, Mayorga filed a complaint alleging violations of the ADA and Florida Civil Rights Act. Alorica moved to dismiss her claim of disability discrimination for failure to state a claim, arguing pregnancy is not recognized as a disability under the ADA.
Outcome: The court denied Alorica’s motion, holding Mayorga’s complaint sufficiently alleged that Alorica discriminated against her based on her disability.
The court acknowledged that it is well-established that pregnancy, absent unusual circumstances, is not considered a disability under the ADA. However, analyzing the ADA regulations, the court held that where a medical condition arises out of a pregnancy and causes an impairment separate from the symptoms associated with a healthy pregnancy or significantly intensifies the symptoms associated with a healthy pregnancy, such medical condition may fall within the ADA’s definition of a disability.
In Mayorga’s case, her allegation that she suffered from a physiological impairment — namely, that her baby was in a breech presentation and that she had significant pregnancy-related complications resulting in her three emergency room admissions and numerous pregnancy-related symptoms — was sufficient to survive Alorica’s motion to dismiss.
Legal Significance: Although typically pregnancy is not a disability within the definition of the ADA, the mother may be protected if she suffers unusual physiological effects.