The Supreme Court will begin hearing oral argument on a case that has to potential to profoundly affect working women. The case, Young v. UPS, involves pregnancy-related workplace discrimination.
According to this significant lawsuit, a part-time UPS worker, Peggy Young, became pregnant with her third child while working as a driver at UPS’s Maryland facility. Yong’s doctor recommended that she avoid lifting anything heavier than 20 pounds. However, her job required she lift up to 70 pounds. After presenting the note, Young was placed on unpaid leave through the end of her pregnancy. As a result, for seven months she lost her wages, heath benefits, and her pension.
Young filed suit alleging that pursuant to the Pregnancy Discrimination
Act of 1978, UPS should accommodate her request, just as it accommodated
workers pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) who suffered
on the job injuries. UPS responded that its obligation to accommodate
employees is limited to someone who suffers on the job injuries, or health
issues related to the injury. Because pregnancy is not an on the job injury,
UPS argued it should not be required to accommodate the lifting restriction.
The lower courts ruled in UPS’s favor, and now the Supreme Court
will determine if Young will be able to bring her pregnancy discrimination
lawsuit before a federal jury to make a determination. She is seeking
lost wages and damages.
Regardless of the outcome in this matter, it is crucial that employers across the country recognize the importance of accommodating pregnant workers. More than 65 percent of women work during their first pregnancy. Responding to women’s reasonable requests for pregnancy related conditions such as lifting restrictions and allowing for more frequent bathroom breaks, as the situation may call for, respects and provides female workers the rights they deserve. For their part, UPS has stated that it will now consider accommodations for pregnant workers.
As Atlanta employment rights lawyers, we will be following this case closely and support all efforts to end pregnancy discrimination. For more information, or if you believe that you may have suffered any form of employment discrimination, please contact the dedicated Georgia employment law attorneys at the Buckley Law Firm, LLP for an immediate case evaluation.