Nicole Zerunyan Authors Article on Pregnancy Discrimination for Mississippi Sports Law Review

Dallas, Texas (November 14, 2022) - Dallas Associate Nicole Zerunyan recently authored an article for the Mississippi Sports Law Review titled, “Pregnant Athletes: Tackling Pregnancy Discrimination in Professional Sports,” which discusses the implications of pregnancy discrimination in professional sports and analyzes various approaches to combatting it.

Using Serena Williams as an example, Ms. Zerunyan opens the article by describing how pregnancy discrimination in professional sports negatively impacts players’ careers by, among other things, lowering their rankings and thus their ability to compete. The author likens this type of discrimination to that which occurs in “corporate board rooms,” positing that “Pregnancy discrimination . . . rages like wildfire in America’s largest industries. The evidence of systematic punishment around pregnancy and women are prevalent in today’s society.” 

Ms. Zerunyan goes on to address the history and significance of pregnancy discrimination, including the implications of Title VII, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), and U.S. Supreme Court case law. She also describes the benefits of pregnancy participatory models, which “can allow female athletes to continue participating or temporarily leave their respective sports during their pregnancies without risking their status.”

Finally, the author makes specific recommendations aimed at combating discrimination against pregnant athletes, including using protections available under the ADA and passing the Federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. Explaining that the “goal is to maximize women’s opportunities to return to their respective sports without punishment . . . to preserve their rankings and retain their pay,” Ms. Zerunyan ultimately concludes that “enactment of federal legislation and change in public and institutional policies are necessary.”

Ms. Zerunyan is a member of Lewis Brisbois’ General Liability Practice. She has additional experience in labor and employment law. Ms. Zerunyan is a graduate of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and a graduate of Loyola Marymount University’s Loyola Law School, where she served as a senior production editor of the Loyola of Los Angeles Entertainment Law Review.

Read the full Mississippi Sports Law Review article here. See the full issue here.

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