Peggy Young V. UPS (United Parcel Service) will come before the United States Supreme Court later today. The pregnancy discrimination case has the potential to affect millions of American women who wish to continue to work throughout their pregnancies.
The case against UPS involves a former driver, Peggy Young, who wanted a temporary assignment to avoid lifting packages over 20 lbs. in 2006. According to NPR, when Peggy Young became pregnant, she was told to see the company nurse at UPS. The nurse, in turn, told her to see her doctor and bring back a note. Young explained to her doctor that her usual UPS route was near the airport, and that most of her deliveries involved envelopes and small packages. The doctor, in turn, told her that the request for a note seemed “odd,” but he wrote her one prescribing that the UPS driver not be made to lift any package over 20 pounds.
Peggy Young gave the note to the nurse at UPS and described what happened next.
“When I took the note to the nurse, she basically said, ‘Well, we don’t give alternative work or light duty to off-work incidents.’ I’m like, ‘I’m pregnant, there’s not an incident here, and I can do my regular job.’ They would not allow me to.”
Although her regular job rarely, if ever, involved packages over 20 pounds, and Young said that fellow co-workers offered to help out if one showed up, UPS would not have it. Young was forced to leave and did not return until two months after the birth of her baby.
The Supreme Court will now decide whether or not UPS violated the 36 year-old federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Peggy Young says that UPS should have offered her alternative light-duty work during her pregnancy [read: her normal position].
UPS has backtracked a bit since the start of Peggy Young’s lawsuit. In January, UPS says it will voluntarily start offering pregnant women light duty work, however, UPS stands firm on the Peggy Young case, saying that her pregnancy occurred while Young was not working, hence it is a disability that the employee suffered on her own time.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is watching the Peggy Young V. UPS case carefully, stating that many companies do offer pregnant women alternative duties during their pregnancies. This landmark case, however, will determine whether or not American companies are required to.
While UPS is voluntarily changing its rules concerning pregnant women, the U.S. Postal Service is not, according to FOX News. The federal agency continues the practice of considering pregnancy a disability that is not work related. Hence, no alternative, light duty work is offered.
What do you think about Peggy Young V. UPS? Should employers be forced to find “alternative” work for pregnant women or is pregnancy an unrelated work disability that must be dealt with solely by the ‘victim.’ Sound off in the comments below.
[Image via Opposing Views]