On Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States heard the case of Young v. UPS. The outcome could have wide-ranging effects.
The decision, which is not expected until mid-2015, will determine whether employers are required to accommodate pregnant workers under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, similarly to how they must accommodate disabled workers under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
UPS has apparently changed its practices since it told Peggy Young to “go home and come back when she wasn’t pregnant” seven years ago, and now offers light duty work to pregnant workers; the question still remains as to just how far the Pregnancy Discrimination Act goes in covering pregnant workers. SCOTUS will have to decide whether UPS violated the law through its policy of providing temporary light-duty work only to employees who had on-the-job injuries, were disabled under federal law or lost their federal driver certification.
Earlier in 2014, the EEOC issued updated guidance that made it clear that employers are required to accommodate pregnant workers in similar situations. The EEOC last issued guidance on pregnancy discrimination and related issues in 1983 – over 30 years ago. The Supreme Court’s decision in Young will certainly have a significant impact on pregnant workers’ rights. Additional information about the case is available here and here; stay tuned for the decision.