Supreme Court sides with pregnant woman in employment discrimination lawsuit (Young v. UPS)

A pregnant woman who worked as a part-time driver for UPS was told by her doctor during her pregnancy that she should not lift more than 20 pounds during her first 20 weeks of pregnancy or more than 10 pounds thereafter. Her responsibilities with UPS included pickup and delivery of packages that sometimes included parcels weighing up to 70 pounds. The woman asked for an accommodation from UPS, which refused to provide one. Eventually, the woman lost her employee medical coverage and sued UPS for unlawfully refusing to accommodate her pregnancy-related job limitation.

Although UPS did not believe that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act required it to provide an accommodation to the pregnant woman, the Court held that the plaintiff provided sufficient evidence that UPS’ policies imposed a significant burden on pregnant workers. In addition, UPS’ purported reasons for the accommodation refusal were not sufficiently strong to justify the burden. The Court held that the pregnant woman in this case could show that UPS accommodates most non-pregnant employees with lifting limitations while categorically failing to accommodate pregnant employees with lifting limitations. The pregnant woman might also add that UPS “has multiple policies that accommodate non-pregnant employees with lifting restrictions” which suggests that “its reasons for failing to accommodate pregnant employees with lifting restrictions are not sufficiently strong – to the point that a jury could find that its reasons for failing to accommodate pregnant employees gives rise to an inference of intentional discrimination.” Young v. UPS, 575 U.S.                  (2015).

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