A case of alleged pregnancy discrimination has made its way to the Supreme Court. According to MSNBC, the case examines the extent of the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act and hinges on the key question: What does it mean to discriminate against a pregnant worker? Businesses seem to be unsure about whether to be “pregnancy blind” and treat pregnant workers just like anyone else, without special physical accommodations, or whether pregnant workers should have exceptions as though they are injured or disabled.
The case heard yesterday involves Peggy Young, a former UPS driver who was put on unpaid medical leave when she was pregnant. According to The New York Times, when she became pregnant, she was forced to take unpaid medical leave – without insurance benefits – because the company would not accommodate her need for “light duty.” She claims her employer violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in doing so.
“The most important aspect of this case is that UPS provided accommodated work to basically anyone who has a lifting restriction of 20 pounds or more,” Bagenstos, a law professor at the University of Michigan, told MSNBC before the hearing, “except when it results from pregnancy.
” UPS may have denied Peggy Lee the right to a reasonable workplace accommodation, which sends the message to other women they may have to choose between their jobs and pregnancy.
With more and more companies paying for egg freezing and the increased prevalence of IVF, it’s both insane that we’re still having this debate and, as the Times calls it, a disappointing case of deja vu.Click here to sign NARAL’s petition to stand up for pregnant working women.