The U.S. Supreme Court just concluded its 2013-14 term and is already creating a buzz over the cases it will hear when it convenes again this October. Today, the Court agreed to hear a case involving whether and to what extent pregnant employees are entitled to reasonable accommodations for conditions related to their pregnancy. The case is Young v. UPS.
Since the passage of the ADA Amendments Act in 2008, there have been an increasing number of pregnancy discrimination cases filed under the ADA. However, Young’s claim accrued prior to the passage of the ADAAA and therefore should only implicate the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
The Young case deals with the accommodations and light duty UPS makes available for employees suffering from on-the-job injuries, ADA disabilities or drivers who are no longer qualified under DOT regulations to operate a federal motor carrier because of an impairment (or otherwise required by a Collective Bargaining Agreement). According to Young’s allegations, UPS did not make reasonable accommodations for her lifting restrictions caused by her pregnancy that she claims were similar to the lifting restrictions imposed on non-pregnant employees who suffered on-the-job injuries thereby treating her differently than similarly situated non-pregnant employees. The Solicitor General recommended that the Court pass on hearing this particular case. Nonetheless, at least four justices voted to hear the case next session.
I expect that the outcome of this case will have substantial effect on a number of employer policies including, but not limited to, employer light duty policies that limit light duty availability to employees who have suffered a workplace injury.
The Supreme Court of the United States blog has a lot of useful information on this case here.
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