Today, the Supreme Court sided with Peggy Young, who sued the United Parcel Service (UPS) for pregnancy discrimination.
In the case Young v. United Parcel Service, the court decided UPS was not justified in putting Young on unpaid leave after she became pregnant, although other workers who had been injured on the job or qualified for the Americans with Disabilities Act were offered “light duty.”
The justices ruled 6-3 in Young’s favor, and the decision was not along party lines. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito joined the more liberal justices.
Young’s case was sent back to a lower court, where a final decision on the lawsuit will be made. It was thrown out in 2013 by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Writing for the majority, Justice Stephen Breyer said the lower court needed to ask "why, when the employer accommodated so many, could it not accommodate pregnant women as well?”
Young’s lawyer, Samuel Bagenstos, called the Supreme Court’s ruling a “big win.”
The case dealt with whether the Pregnancy Discrimination Act requires companies to offer light-duty to pregnant workers if they do so for non-pregnant workers.
UPS said the light-duty offerings were "pregnancy neutral," meaning Young and other pregnant workers were expected to perform the same duties as everyone else. In its collective bargaining agreement with Teamsters, UPS claimed it wasn't required to accommodate workers with "off-the-job injuries or conditions," such as pregnancy.
After the ruling, UPS said the decision proved that its policy was not "inherently discriminatory."
Last year, UPS said it would amend its policy. Pregnant workers are entitled to light duty as of Jan. 1, 2015.