New York, NY, September 10th, 2014 – This morning Legal Momentum filed an amicus curiae brief in Young v. UPS, the case that will require the Supreme Court to decide whether the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”) requires employers to accommodate pregnant workers if such accommodations are already available to workers under other circumstances.
Peggy Young, the woman at the center of Young v. UPS, was employed by UPS as an airmail delivery driver when she became pregnant. Armed with a doctor’s note that recommended a 20-pound lifting restriction for the remainder of her pregnancy, Young went to her supervisor to request a temporary light-duty assignment. UPS responded by denying this request even though its policy already makes such assignments available under a variety of circumstances such as on-the-job injuries or cases where workers are without their driving certification for any number of reasons—even a past incident of drunk driving. Further compounding Young’s difficult situation, UPS proved unwilling to allow her to remain in her current job. Young ultimately had to take an unpaid leave, losing her health insurance along with her wages months before the arrival of her baby.
After both the district and the appellate court asserted that UPS’s policy was “pregnancy-blind” and therefore lawful, Legal Momentum filed a brief in support of Young’s efforts to persuade the Supreme Court to take her case. The Court accepted the case on July 1st.
Legal Momentum’s newly filed brief, coauthored with Joanna L. Grossman, Sidney and Walter Siben Distinguished Professor of Family Law at Hofstra Law School, and Deborah L. Brake, Professor of Law and Distinguished Faculty Scholar at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, urges the Supreme Court to rule in Young’s favor since the Pregnancy Discrimination Act requires employers to accommodate pregnant workers to the same extent that the employer accommodates any of its other workers. In particular, the brief argues that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act was created to eradicate stereotyping that has long forced pregnant women out of the workforce, and that a decision in favor of UPS would have a particularly devastating impact on the women who need the PDA’s protections the most.
“If the Court allows employers to continue to selectively deny accommodations to pregnant women as UPS has done, low-wage women and women in traditionally male-dominated occupations will become even more vulnerable to workplace discrimination,” said Jelena Kolic, Legal Momentum staff attorney. “The law clearly mandates employers to accommodate pregnant women on the same terms as everyone else. We hope the Court will do the right thing and send a clear message that the PDA means exactly what it says.”
The full text of Legal Momentum’s newly filed brief can be found at Legal Momentum’s website at https://www.legalmomentum.org/legal-cases/young-v-ups-supreme-court.
About Legal Momentum
Legal Momentum is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1970 to advance the rights of women across the nation by using the power of the law and creating innovative public policy in three broad areas: economic justice, freedom from gender-based violence, and equality under the law. Successful initiatives include judicial education programs on the realities of sexual assault, domestic violence, and their intersection; successful advocacy for the Violence Against Women Act and for expanded protections for Native American and other survivors of violence in its 2013 reauthorization; and representing women who have been subjected to workplace pregnancy and gender discrimination with precedent-setting litigation. For more information, visit www.legalmomentum.org.