Supreme Court Weighs Whether to Hear Pregnancy Discrimination Case that Could Affect Workers’ Rights in New York and Nationwide

The United States Supreme Court has asked the Solicitor General to weigh in regarding whether to grant certiorari in a pregnancy discrimination case. In Young v. United Parcel Service (UPS), a part-time female delivery driver named Peggy Young took a leave of absence from her employer, UPS, to undergo in vitro fertilization. After Young successfully became pregnant, she requested temporary reassignment to a light duty position that did not require her to lift heavy items pursuant to the advice of her physician. Although the UPS collective bargaining agreement that applied to Young allowed temporary light duty reassignment in limited circumstances such as on-the-job injuries and a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), pregnancy was not an eligible disability. As a result of this policy, UPS refused to temporarily reassign Young and she instead took an unpaid leave of absence after her Family Medical Leave Act leave expired.

Not long after giving birth and returning to work, Young sought and received a right to sue letter from the nation’s Equal Opportunity Commission. She then filed a lawsuit against UPS claiming the company’s temporary reassignment policy violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). In her complaint, Young alleged that the company violated the Act’s prohibition against treating pregnant workers differently as a result of their pregnancy status. She also accused the company of both race and sex discrimination. After a lengthy discovery period, UPS filed a motion for summary judgment. Young opposed the motion, sought additional discovery, and asked the court to dismiss her race discrimination complaint.

The district court granted UPS’s motion and Young appealed her case to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. On appeal, the court held the UPS policy for temporary light duty assignment was gender neutral. The court added that requiring the company to accommodate Young due to her pregnancy without making accommodations for other workers who were hurt off-the-job would result in preferential treatment for pregnant workers. Because such a result is not required by the PDA, the appellate court affirmed the lower court’s decision in favor of UPS. Young then filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the nation’s high court.

At issue in the case is exactly what sort of accommodations employers are required to make for pregnant workers under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. It will be interesting to see whether the Supreme Court chooses to consider Young’s appeal.

The caring lawyers at Phillips & Associates have many years of experience representing the victims of pregnancy discrimination and sexual harassment in New York City and surrounding areas. At Phillips & Associates, our knowledgeable attorneys are available to help you protect your rights at the city, state, and federal levels. To schedule a free, confidential consultation with a hardworking advocate, give our diligent lawyers a call today at (212) 248-7431 or contact Phillips & Associates through our website.

More Blog Posts:

Plaintiff’s Firm Obtains Judgment in New York Wage and Hour and Race Discrimination Case, New York Employment Attorney Blog, November 12, 2013

New York Governor Signs Bill Created to Protect Child Models Into Law, New York Employment Attorney Blog, November 6, 2013

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