Supreme Court to Hear Ex-UPS Employee's Case on Pregnancy Discrimination, Workers' Rights
The Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments that would clarify the terms of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978.
The case came after Peggy Young, a part-time delivery truck driver for UPS in Landover, Maryland, became pregnant and was instructed by a midwife's recommendation to not carry parcels weighing over 20 pounds. UPS denied Young's request. The parcel service stated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act did not apply to Young's request. Although the incident started in 2006, Congress issued an amendment to the Americans with Disabilities Act that would grant women, such as Young, the request she had sought.
"What started as a very happy pregnancy became one of the most stressful times of my life," Young told the National Women's Law Center.
"I gave the note to my supervisor and the UPS health manager. I said that I would be happy to work either a light duty job or my regular job. I almost never had to lift more than a few pounds in my job as an early morning air driver," Young stated, adding the UPS health manager told her to get a note from a doctor that she's "fully disabled and could not work at all."
"That was not true," Young said. "I could work. I wanted to work. My family needed my pay, and I needed my medical benefits.
According to Young, UPS has provided light duty to injured employees or people with numerous medical conditions such as diabetes, hearing or vision difficulties and high blood pressure as covered in the Americans with Disabilities Act. With the light duty job at UPS, workers are allowed to carry up to 10 pounds of parcels.
"But UPS refused to let me work either light duty or my regular job even though I begged to work. The highest manager in the UPS building where I worked told me that I could not come back in the building until I was no longer pregnant because I was too much of a liability," said Young.
The pregnant UPS employee lost her job and no longer received health benefits from the parcel company.
Young added, "I could no longer use the medical care I had chosen. I had to use less desirable medical care four times as far from home. I also lost my right to disability benefits related to my pregnancy and childbirth."
Young has already sued UPS on the grounds of pregnancy discrimination and lost in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. She believes the courts "failed to correctly apply" the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Young pursued the case to the Supreme Court and arguments on the matter should occur during the court's new term, which starts in October.
"UPS is committed to a fair workplace and has consistent and robust policies to prevent discrimination and adhere to our legal obligations. We look forward to the Court's review of the merits of the case," UPS spokesperson Susan Rosenberg told Latin Post.