What Many Working Women Don’t Know About Pregnancy Discrimination, But Should

Lessons working women can learn from the UPS worker case currently being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

06/26/2015 // Discrimination (Press Release) // (press release)

Lessons working women can learn from the UPS worker case currently being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.


Pregnancy discrimination has become a hot topic in the media since the Supreme Court decided to hear the case of a UPS worker who was refused light duty tasks during her pregnancy. The issue is one that has long been argued in courts due to the high number of employers who interpret the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which was enacted in 1978, in different ways.


A key issue currently being reviewed by Supreme Court justices regarding the matter is the element of the law that states that the treatment of pregnant workers should be equal to other workers who are “similar in their ability or inability to work.”


Texas based employment attorney Carson Croft, who is unrelated to the case, said after examining several factors, “In the case of the UPS worker, she requested that her employer give her only tasks that didn’t require her to lift any more than 20 pounds as opposed to the 70 pounds required of her job, per her doctor’s recommendation. Not granting such a request under the circumstances opens the door to multiple legal challenges.”


Source: The Washington Post Report “High Court Considers Pregnancy”


“Washington — The U.S. Supreme Court is grappling with how employers should treat pregnant workers like Peggy Young, who sued UPS after the parcel company forced her to take unpaid leave rather than accommodate a doctor’s recommendation…”


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Some justices have argued that the woman was seeking “most favored nation” status in her request, while others stated she was “least favored” by the company because other workers who sought accommodations similar to her requests as a result of their illness, injury, or disability were not denied.


UPS has claimed that no wrongdoing has been done on their part.


Source: USA TODAY Report “Pregnancy discrimination claim faces high-court hurdle”


“UPS said its policy was right. Her pregnancy, it said, did not meet any of its three criteria for a workplace accommodation — an on-the-job injury, a disability recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the loss of federal certification to drive.”


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A number of working women don’t know what their rights are in regards to being accommodated if they become pregnant and unable to continue performing certain duties related to their job.  Some feel intimidated by threats of being fired or demoted if they are temporarily unable to carry out functions they had no problem doing before they became pregnant. As the Supreme Court continues to weigh the facts before rendering a decision that will help clarify how to interpret the complex Pregnancy Discrimination Act issue, there are things that pregnant working women can learn from what has already been presented with regards to how they are protected under the law. These include the following provisions outlined by the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC):


  • Discrimination based on one’s pregnancy is strictly prohibited – With regards to hiring, firing, promotions, and other conditions of employment, employers cannot treat a woman unfavorably because she became pregnant.


  • If an employer allows a temporarily disabled worker to take unpaid leave, the same accommodations must also be afforded to a woman who is temporarily disabled due to pregnancy.


  • Harassment against a pregnant employee that creates a hostile work environment is prohibited under the law.


  • Pregnant employees also have rights under additional acts such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Fair Labor Standards Act.


Pregnant workers who feel they have suffered discrimination on the job have the option of contacting an employment lawyer in their area if they need help understanding their legal rights in these matters.

Media Information:

Phone: 1800-779-6665

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