Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pregnancy Accommodation in the Workplace May Be Decided by Supreme Court

Apparently the Supreme Court of the United States asked the Solicitor General's opinion last month as to whether to accept the case of Young v. UPS for next year’s term.  For those that don't know, Young was a delivery driver for UPS who became pregnant and was not able to return to work due to a lifting restriction imposed by her physician.  Thus, UPS was unable to return to her previous position as a delivery driver during her pregnancy.  This then prompted Young to request a temporary light duty assignment.

Pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement with Young’s union, UPS provided temporary modified work assignments only in specific situations. UPS offered light duty assignments to employees who were injured on the job, who were suffering from a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), or to drivers who lost their Department of Transportation certification due to, among other things, failed medical exams. As pregnancy itself is not considered a disability under the ADA, under UPS’s policy and the CBA Young was ineligible for light duty work based on limitations arising solely as result of her pregnancy.

Young then sued after she went on an extended, unpaid leave of absence, claiming that UPS' policy of providing light duty work to some employees but not to pregnant workers like herself violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act under Title VII.  However, both the district and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of UPS because current laws regarding pregnant employees do not provide for any extra protections than are provided for other temporarily-disabled employees.

This will be interesting to watch if the Supreme Court grants writ and hears this case since there have been efforts to pass legislation providing the type of protection that would have covered Young--the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.  If the Supreme Court ultimately finds UPS violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, it may invalidate the need for passage of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

No comments:

Post a Comment