Women Celebrate Victory in Supreme Court Young v. UPS Decision

In the much anticipated Supreme Court decision in the case of Young v. UPS, the Court remanded the case back to the 4th Circuit.  Although the Supreme Court did not directly decide the issue of whether UPS violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, in not offering Young a disability accommodation due to her pregnancy, it held that Young’s claim should at least be heard.  Advocates celebrated this as a victory because at least Young would have her day in court that had been denied by the lower courts.  Young’s attorney considered the decision to be a “big step forward towards enforcing the principle that a woman shouldn’t have to choose between her pregnancy and her job.”

The case concerned whether UPS had violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in not accommodating Young’s request for a light duty work assignment during her pregnancy, based on her doctor’s orders.  UPS argued that its policy was pregnancy neutral in that it treated pregnant employees and non-pregnant employees the same when it came to injuries that did not result from employment.  Both the district court, and 4th Circuit rejected hearing Young’s argument on the grounds that she could not establish a prima facie case of discrimination.  Although the Supreme Court decided that pregnant employees should not be granted a “most favored nation” status, it did hold that UPS would have to justify a nondiscriminatory reason for Young’s difference in treatment compared with the accommodations given to injured employees.

While Young v. UPS dealt with federal law (the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act), at least twelve states have enacted protection for pregnant workers into legislation by providing that employers must regard pregnancy in the same way it treats a worker with a disability and therefore must offer reasonable accommodations.

If you feel that you have been discriminated against as a result of your pregnancy, contact an experienced New York Employment Attorney today. Call Steven Mitchell Sack at (917) 371-8000 or email him at sms@StevenSack.com. You can also visit his website at http://theemployeeslawyer.com/.

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