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WASHINGTON – The United States Supreme Court will hear arguments today in Young v. UPS, a pregnancy discrimination case brought by Peggy Young, a woman forced off of her job at UPS while pregnant.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Maryland supported Peggy Young in both her case at the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2012 and at the Supreme Court by filing friend-of-the-court briefs on behalf of women’s rights groups. The Supreme Court brief argues that while Congress enacted the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 to end widespread practices of discrimination against women, paternalistic assumptions and outdated stereotypes continue to be used to justify sex discrimination, undermining Congress’s intention in passing the law.
“Employers and courts nationwide still aren’t getting the message that the same temporary accommodations provided to injured workers must be provided to pregnant workers,” said Lenora Lapidus, director of the ACLU Women’s Rights Project. “The Supreme Court must make it clear that this type of discrimination is unlawful and that no woman should have to choose between her job and a healthy pregnancy.”
When Young’s doctors recommended that she not lift more than 20 pounds during pregnancy, she requested a light duty assignment that would be made available to workers temporarily unable to perform their regular tasks because of on-the-job injuries, disabilities covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, or loss of their commercial drivers’ licenses. Instead of making reasonable accommodations, UPS put Young on unpaid leave with no medical coverage, just when she needed it most to prepare for the cost of having a baby. The ACLU has long fought back against these discriminatory practices in the courts and in the legislatures.
In 2013, the ACLU took a lead role in helping to pass state legislation in Maryland protecting pregnant workers from discrimination after the Fourth Circuit ruled in Young’s case. The law requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees with conditions resulting from pregnancy. Similar laws passed in other states this past year, including NJ, IL, WV, MN, DE, and New York City.
More information about the ACLU’s pregnancy discrimination work is available at:
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