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Supreme Court gives pregnancy discrimination victim hope

We have previously written about the pregnancy discrimination case recently argued in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. When a pregnant UPS driver asked for lighter duty for the duration of her pregnancy due to her physician’s recommendation that she avoid lifting packages over a certain weight limit, UPS denied her request. Instead of granting her this reasonable accommodation, the company essentially compelled the worker to take unpaid leave for the rest of her pregnancy.

The worker then filed suit against UPS under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. After two lower courts rejected the worker’s lawsuit, the Supreme Court recently ruled to keep her claim alive. The Court has directed the lower courts to reassess the worker’s claim with the question, “Why, when the employer accommodated so many, could it not accommodate pregnant women as well?" in mind.

Since the initial lawsuit was filed, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued guidance insisting that pregnant workers in similar situations should be properly accommodated. Yet, UPS has stubbornly refused to update its policy in regards to pregnant workers. Hopefully, this plaintiff will ultimately receive justice from the lower courts and others like her will be granted the accommodations they are entitled to.

For far too long, pregnancy discrimination has been allowed to quietly flourish inside American workplaces. This strong Supreme Court ruling, coupled with the recent EEOC guidance, should hopefully help to ensure that pregnancy discrimination will become an unacceptable trend of the past instead of a pressing and urgent present reality.

Source: ABC News, “Justices Revive Ex-UPS Worker's Pregnancy Bias Lawsuit,” Mark Sherman, March 25, 2015

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