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US Supreme Court allows discrimination claims of former UPS employee over workload during pregnancy

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Article
25 March 2015

Opinion analysis: Fashioning a remedy for pregnancy bias

Author: Lyle Denniston, on SCOTUS Blog (USA)

Dissatisfied with every argument made to it, a Supreme Court majority on Wednesday on its own fashioned a new way to test complaints that employers are discriminating against workers who become pregnant.  The result…was a kind of hybrid remedy, judging intentional bias on the one hand and harmful impact on women workers on the other. It was clear, though, that female workers did not receive legal protection as strong as their advocates sought, but neither did employers get a free pass from claims of pregnancy bias.  The six-to-three decision thus looked like a compromise, landing somewhere in the middle…The majority…declared what the section now actually means…Thus far, the framework is designed to show that the refusal to accommodate was the likely result of intentional bias…Justice Antonin Scalia, joined by Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence Thomas, wrote a dissenting opinion complaining that the majority had simply made up an analytical framework that had no basis in the law…

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Article
25 March 2015

Pregnancy Bias Claims Against UPS Revived

Author: Barbara Leonard, Courthouse News Service

UPS must face claims that it discriminated by barring a woman from working while pregnant, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday…Prior to her pregnancy, Young had been a seven-year, part-time employee for UPS…When she became pregnant, both Young's doctor and midwife signed notes stating that Young should not lift more than 20 pounds. A supervisor refused to let Young return to work in the fall based on a UPS policy that says all drivers must be able to lift packages weighing up to 70 pounds…Young remained home without pay…[I]n 2007, she brought discrimination claims to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and sued UPS in October 2008. A federal judge granted UPS summary judgment in 2011, however and the 4th Circuit affirmed in January 2013. The Supreme Court vacated that ruling 6-3 Wednesday based on its interpretation of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, before more recent changes by Congress. It noted that the relevant statutory clause says "women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions shall be treated the same for all employment-related purposes ... as other persons not so affected but similar in their ability or inability to work."…

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Article
25 March 2015

Supreme Court Sides With Pregnant Workers

Author: Dave Jamieson, Huffington Post (USA)

In a victory for pregnant women in the workplace, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in favor of a worker who sued shipping giant UPS for pregnancy discrimination, sending her lawsuit back to a lower court where she had previously lost. The case…hinged on whether or not UPS was justified in putting Peggy Young on unpaid leave after she became pregnant, even though other workers were commonly offered "light duty" for on-the-job injuries or to satisfy requirements under the American with Disabilities Act…Justice Stephen Breyer, writing for the majority, said the question the lower court needed to ask was "why, when the employer accommodated so many, could it not accommodate pregnant women as well?"…The company tried to claim a partial victory after Tuesday's decision, saying in a statement that the Supreme Court "rejected the argument that UPS's pregnancy-neutral policy was inherently discriminatory."…

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Article
25 March 2015

Young v. United Parcel Service

Author: Supreme Court of the United States

[Full text of the Supreme Court ruling sending the lawsuit back to a lower court]

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