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Sex Discrimination

Sex Discrimination To Protect Fetal Health

In the 1980s female employees in certain industries complained that they were barred from certain jobs because the employer believed the jobs exposed women to health hazards that could affect their ability to reproduce and could also affect the health of a fetus. The Supreme Court, in UAW v. Johnson Controls, 499 U.S. 187, 111 S. Ct. 1196, 113 L. Ed. 2d 158 (1991), ruled that a female employee cannot be excluded from jobs that expose her to health risks that might harm a fetus she carries. The Court found that the exclusion of the women violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 because the company policy applied only to fertile women, not fertile men. The Court noted that the policy singled out women on the basis of gender and childbearing capacity rather than on the basis of fertility alone. If a job presented potential dangers to the worker or the worker's fetus, it was up to the worker to decide whether to accept the position.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationFree Legal Encyclopedia: Secretary to SHAsSex Discrimination - Historical Background, Sex Discrimination And Title Vii: An Unusual Political Alliance, Sex Discrimination Laws