Supreme Court to Hear Pregnancy Discrimination Case

The Supreme Court has just decided to hear argument concerning an significant question affecting many women across the nation: under what circumstances should an employer be required to provide “reasonable accommodations” to a pregnant employee?

Generally, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) set forth that employers must provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities. A qualified individual with a disability is an individual with any medical, physiological, or psychiatric condition that substantially limits a major life activity.

In the case going before the Supreme Court, Young v. UPS, a pregnant United Parcel Service worker, Peggy Young, requested an accommodation that she not be required to lift heavy packages. Rather than providing the accommodation, her boss told her to take unpaid leave. She has asserted that pregnant women should be treated the same as others with short-term disabilities, and that UPS should have found alternative work for her.

If you have questions about the ADA/ADAAA or require that your employer provide a reasonable accommodation, consulting with a knowledgeable Atlanta employment discrimination attorney is a good idea to provide you with skilled guidance concerning your next steps.

In the petition before the Supreme Court, Young argues that pursuant to the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act, pregnant women should be treated the same as others with short-term disabilities and UPS should have found light duty work for her. For its part, UPS argues that its policy, which allows accommodations (or “light duty” assignments) for employees injured on the job, employees with a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, and injured employees ineligible for commercial driver’s licenses, is “pregnancy blind” and does not constitute discrimination.

Unfortunately, pregnancy discrimination occurs more regularly than it should, and the denial of workplace accommodations to pregnant workers in circumstances in which other employees receive them is a common fact pattern. In the last 10 years, the EEOC has filed more than 260 pregnancy discrimination lawsuits.

The lower court found in favor of UPS, but now the Supreme Court will hear argument and weigh in on this critical matter.

For more information or believe you have suffered pregnancy discrimination or any other type of employment discrimination, we urge you to contact the top Georgia employment discrimination lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.