Pregnancy Exclusion In California Insurance Law

Geduldig v. Aiello (1974) 417 U.S. 484 94 S. Ct. 2485, 41 L. Ed. 2d 256 involved the constitutionality of a pregnancy exclusion in California's disability insurance law. Because California Unemployment Insurance Code section 2626 excluded certain disabilities attributable to pregnancy from coverage under the disability insurance system, the state department administering the disability insurance system ruled the plaintiff ineligible for benefits. (417 U.S. at pp. 487-492 94 S. Ct. at pp. 2487-2490.) Geduldig held that excluding this pregnancy from coverage did not invidiously discriminate under the equal protection clause. The court found that the state's interest in maintaining a self-supporting insurance program, in providing adequate benefits for covered disabilities, and in maintaining an affordable contribution rate provided "an objective and wholly non-invidious basis for the State's decision not to create a more comprehensive insurance program than it has." (Id. at p. 496 94 S. Ct. at p. 2492.) Thus the plaintiff had not shown she suffered discrimination because she encountered a risk outside the program's protection. (Id. at p. 497 94 S. Ct. at p. 2492.) Geduldig was an equal protection case, and the majority opinion did not refer to federal anti-discrimination-in-employment statutes. Nonetheless in 1976 the United States Supreme Court relied on the Geduldig analysis to hold that an employer's failure to provide disability benefits to pregnant employees did not constitute sex discrimination in violation of title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq., hereafter sometimes title VII.)