Woman gets new shot to make pregnancy discrimination claim

United Parcel Service insists it has always been in compliance with the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act. If that’s the case, one has reason to ask why the company decided to ease its policy. It came after the U.S. Supreme Court decided to look at a case brought by a former female UPS driver. Perhaps UPS saw some error in its ways.

Late last month, the high court ruled on a 6-3 vote that the woman should be allowed the chance to present a jury with her claim that UPS violated worker rights under the PDA when she was pregnant back in 2006.

According to her suit, the woman went to her managers with a request for lighter duty after she became pregnant. She cited her doctor’s orders that she not lift any weight over 20 pounds for the first 20 weeks of her pregnancy.

She alleges that instead of providing accommodation, she was put on unpaid leave. She says company policy allowed accommodation for others with limited ability, and that by refusing her request it violated language in the PDA that requires employers to treat pregnant employees the same as others with similar “ability or inability to work.”

UPS argued that it wasn’t discriminating against pregnant women because its policy at the time didn’t provide accommodations for employees injured off the job.

A lower court ruled in favor of UPS, but the Supreme Court decision means the matter goes back to that court, along with the observation that it should answer the question: “Why, when the employer accommodated so many, could it not accommodate pregnant women as well?”

Some legal analysts say the decision is not only a major win for this former UPS driver, but also serves to guide courts in the future when they are faced with pregnancy discrimination claims.

Source: USNews.com, “Supreme Court Rules Against UPS in Pregnancy Discrimination Case,” Tierney Sneed, March 25, 2015

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