Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc.

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Employment Law
  • Date Filed: July 1, 2014
  • Case #: 12-1226
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Court Below: 707 F.3d 437 (4th Cir. 2013)
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether, and in what circumstances, an employer that provides work accommodations to non-pregnant employees with work limitations must provide similar accommodations to pregnant employees who are "similar in their ability or inability to work."

Petitioner was put on extended leave without pay and was refused light duty assignment by Respondent because her pregnancy did not qualify her for temporary alternative work (TAW), which is reserved for employees injured on the job or suffering from a permanent impairment recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). She also did not qualify for “inside work”, which is reserved for drivers who lose their Department of Transportation (DOT) certification.

Petitioner filed an amended charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), seeking damages under Title VII for sex and race discrimination, and under the ADA for disability discrimination. The district court granted summary judgment for the Respondent. On appeal, the Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision, holding that Petitioner failed to demonstrate that she had a a disability as defined in the ADA or that Respondent’s TAW and “inside work” policies treat pregnant employees any different than non-pregnant employees.

Petitioner argues that because the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) simply requires pregnant women to be “treated the same for all employment-related purposes… as other persons not so affected, but similar in their ability or inability to work”, while remaining silent on duration and nature of of the similarities a pregnant women needs to have with the persons “not so affected”, the Fourth Circuit decision runs afoul from the plain language found in the ADA. Petitioner also points to the Sixth Circuit split on the issue as another reason for this Court to address the matter. Certiorari was granted.

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