A few days ago, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will review a Maryland case. The court will be looking at Young v. UPS to determine the reach of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and to what degree employers must accommodate pregnant employees with light duties and the like.
The plaintiff was a part-time UPS driver who was required, as all company drivers are, to be able to lift 70 pounds. After becoming pregnant, she gave UPS a letter from her doctor recommending that she not lift anything heavier than 20 pounds. The company refused and did not allow her to return to work because, it said, being able to lift more than 20 pounds is required of all drivers.
UPS does grant light-duty accommodations to female and male drivers who sustained job-related injuries, but not to female and male drivers who asked for accommodations for medical reasons unrelated to their jobs.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland and the Fourth Circuit agreed that the UPS policy was lawful because it treats pregnant workers and non-pregnant workers the same.
The plaintiff asked in a U.S. Supreme Court petition "whether, and in what circumstances, an employer that provides work accommodations to non-pregnant employees with work limitations must provide work accommodations to pregnant employees who are 'similar in their ability or inability to work.'"
It should be noted that Maryland employers are required by our state’s Fair Employment Practices Act to provide certain accommodations to pregnant workers; the employees are required to provide notice to employers of a temporary disability.
Anyone who believes an employer unlawfully discriminated against a pregnant employee should discuss the matter with an experienced employment law attorney.
Source: mondaq.com, "United States: Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Appeal In Young v. UPS," Steven Kaplan, July 4, 2014