Pregnancy as a Normal Condition of Employment: Comparative and Role-Based Accounts of Discrimination

Reva B. Siegel, Yale Law School


As the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA) turns forty, it is time to consider how we define pregnancy discrimination. In recent years, courts have come to define pregnancy discrimination almost exclusively through comparison. Yet our understanding of discrimination, inside and outside the pregnancy context, depends on judgments about social roles as well as comparison. Both Congress and the Court appealed to social roles in defining the wrongs of pregnancy discrimination.