Tags: Supreme Court | Supreme Court | workplace rules | pregnant workers | UPS

Supreme Court Takes Up Workplace Rules for Pregnant Workers

By    |   Monday, 01 Dec 2014 09:20 AM

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a discrimination lawsuit involving a former United Parcel Service (UPS) worker who was placed on unpaid leave after she became pregnant, a case which could clarify federal workplace protections for pregnant women.

After she became pregnant, Peggy Young was placed on temporary assignment by UPS, citing advice she had received from her doctor to avoid lifting heavy packages.

"I lost my health benefits. I lost my pension. And I lost my wages for seven months. And my disability benefits," Young told The New York Times.

Young, who sued under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, was employed in Maryland as an "air driver," a position that involved loading packages onto vehicles, transporting them, and then unloading them.

She acknowledged that an essential function of her position was the ability to lift packages weighing up to 70 pounds, according to the UPS brief filed in October.

The Atlanta-based company did not place Young on light duty because use of that policy was reserved only for those injured on the job or considered disabled under federal disability rights law, according to Scotusblog.

Pregnant women fall under the classification of workers injured off the job, so she did not qualify for light duty reassignment.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) authorized Young to file suit against UPS, but she lost the case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, according to Scotusblog.

In its October brief, UPS did announce a change in policy so the company will now consider accommodations for pregnant workers who might need to have their physical activity restricted.

"Laws have changed. Regulatory guidance has changed, and that's all happened very recently. So we believe it's appropriate to update our workplace policies as the times change so the company can attract and retain the best workforce that we can," UPS spokeswoman Kara Ross told The Washington Post.

According to its October filing, UPS notes that the U.S. Postal Service, which is an independent agency under congressional purview, has a similar policy governing pregnant employees.

The Washington Post notes Census Bureau figures which show the percentage of women who choose to work in the early stages of pregnancy has increased from 44 percent in the early 1960s to 65 percent today.

The Supreme Court will hear the case Wednesday.

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The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a discrimination lawsuit involving a former United Parcel Service (UPS) worker who was placed on unpaid leave after she became pregnant, a case which could clarify federal workplace protections for pregnant women.
Supreme Court, workplace rules, pregnant workers, UPS
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2014-20-01
Monday, 01 Dec 2014 09:20 AM
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