On March 25, 2015 the United States Supreme Court vacated the decision of the lower court, sending a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit back to that court for trial. The decision will allow the plaintiff in the case, Peggy Young, another opportunity to prove that her former employer, UPS, illegally discriminated against her.
Ms. Young alleges that after she got pregnant, UPS refused to provide her with light-duty or any sort of reasonable accommodation. Instead, UPS placed Ms. Young on unpaid leave. Ms. Young sued UPS under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which prevents employers from discriminating against workers on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, and/or related medical conditions.
Ms. Young’s case was dismissed unanimously by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia, which held that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act does not give pregnant woman “a ‘most favored nation’ status.”
In a six-to-three vote, the United States Supreme Court vacated the decision of the Fourth Circuit, permitting Young another chance at proving that UPS did indeed discriminate against her. By sending the case back to the Fourth Circuit, the Supreme Court expressed its support for Ms. Young. Unfortunately, for Ms. Young, she is not guaranteed victory when the case goes back to the lower court.
Implications of the Case
Regardless of whether Ms. Young is successful when the case returns to the Fourth Circuit, it marks a positive step in the development of pregnant workers’ rights. The case has brought increased attention to pregnancy discrimination and has influenced UPS to change its policy regarding pregnant workers. Now, the company will offer temporary light duty positions to pregnant workers who do not wish to take an unpaid leave. In addition, the case has signaled the Supreme Court’s sympathy with workers who face pregnancy discrimination.
New York City Laws provide for reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers
Fortunately for New York City workers, local New York employment laws provide even greater protection for pregnant workers than federal laws. The 2013 Pregnant Workers Fairness Act requires employers in New York City to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees. Reasonable accommodations include more breaks for rest, more bathroom breaks, limitations on manual labor, and time to recover after delivery. In addition to these accommodations, employers must provide pregnant workers with a written notice of their rights.
Lawyers advocating for fair treatment of NYC workers
If you are a New York City employee who has been fired or forced to take an unpaid leave because of your pregnancy, contact Akin Law Group as soon as possible. Our lawyers are knowledgeable in city, state, and federal pregnancy discrimination laws, and are ready to help you succeed in court. Through filing a lawsuit, you may be awarded monetary damages for your emotional suffering and lost wages. Call us today at 866.685.5163 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your rights and options.