The Young case focuses on the meaning of the PDAs language prohibiting discrimination because of pregnancy. UPS maintains that its light duty policy is pregnancy neutral and not discriminatory, because it excludes both pregnant employees and non-pregnant employees such as non-pregnant employees injured off the job. Ms. Young argues, however, that the PDA requires more than neutrality and mandates the availability of benefits to pregnant employees that are available to other employees. Both the trial court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled in UPS favor, finding that UPS policy did not treat pregnant women differently given that they could receive a light duty assignment for the same reason as other employees (i.e. an on the job injury) and given that Ms. Young was not similar in her work abilities as compared to others given light duty assignments.
The Supreme Court agreed to hear the Young case before the EEEOC issued its July 2014 pregnancy guidance. In that guidance, the EEOC maintains, like Ms. Young, that the PDA does require an employer to provide light duty work for a pregnant worker if it does so for other employees. The EEOC guidance does not, however, have the force or effect of law. As such, employers should be watching for the Supreme Courts Young decision in 2015 to see the Court adopts the EEOCs position or a different approach. Based on the oral arguments before the Court last week, legal analysts are saying that the case is too close to call. So stay tuned the Supreme Courts decision is expected by June of 2015.
Tana VanGoethem practices in the areas of higher education, and employment and labor law. She has extensive experience conducting higher education investigations and adjudications on behalf of institutions, including sexual ...
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