UPS

  • December 1, 2014
    Guest Post

    by Emily J. Martin, National Women's Law Center. She is the Vice President and General Counsel of the NWLC.

    “Come back when you’re not pregnant.”  That’s what Peggy Young testifies her supervisor told her after her medical provider advised that she avoid lifting more than 20 pounds for the remainder of her pregnancy.  Young, a UPS driver from Landover, Maryland, was forced out onto unpaid leave without company health benefits. On December 3, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in her pregnancy discrimination case, Young v. UPS.  The case marks the first time the Court will hear a case critical to both women’s health and economic security since the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision in June, when five Justices held that Hobby Lobby and other companies could ignore the legal requirement that they include coverage of birth control in their health insurance plans if they had religious objections to contraception.  The Young case will be an important test of whether a majority of the Supreme Court continues to have a “blind spot” where women’s issues are concerned. The stakes are high for women and their families.

    Peggy Young was a UPS driver, delivering mostly light air mail packages.  When she became pregnant and was given a lifting restriction, she told UPS she was willing to continue to do her regular job, as it was rare that she had to lift anything heavy, or take a light duty assignment—the sort of reassignment that UPS routinely provided to employees who had disabilities as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act and those with on-the-job injuries and those who had lost their commercial drivers' licenses, whether because of health problems or issues such as DUI convictions.  But UPS said that because of her lifting restriction, it would not permit her to continue to do her regular job.  And it also refused to reassign her, despite the accommodations it provided to other workers with medical restrictions and despite the command of the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act that employers treat pregnant workers as well as they treat those who are “similar in ability or inability to work.”  Her family’s financial security was threatened at the moment they needed it the most.

  • December 1, 2014

    by Caroline Cox

    At The Daily Beast, Geoffrey R. Stone previews the Elonis case before the Supreme Court, which considers whether seemingly threatening Facebook posts “fall within the category of ‘threats’ that are not protected by the First Amendment.”

    Matt O’Brien writes in The Washington Post about new research showing more evidence of growing inequality in America: poor college graduates make just about as much money later in life as rich high school dropouts.

    In The New York Times, Linda Greenhouse writes about the opinion by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit that upholds state bans on same-sex marriage.

    Richard Wolf of USA Today previews the upcoming Supreme Court case that considers whether UPS engaged in gender discrimination when it did not accommodate a pregnant worker.

  • March 5, 2012
    Guest Post

    By Ariela Migdal, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Women's Rights Project


    Peggy Young delivered letters and packages sent by air for UPS. When she got pregnant after struggling with infertility and IVF, her doctor recommended that she not lift more than 20 pounds. She asked UPS, where she had worked since 1999, for a "light duty" assignment, so that she could continue working through her pregnancy. 

    UPS said no. It explained that its policy was to offer light duty assignments or "inside" jobs to lots of different kinds of workers who were temporarily unable to perform their regular tasks:  workers who were injured on the job, workers with a qualifying disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, workers who lose their commercial driving licenses because of an off-the-job injury, and workers involved in a car accident.

    As a result, Peggy was put on unpaid leave with no medical coverage.

    Sound illegal? It is, and has been since 1978, when Congress amended the civil rights laws to require employers to treat pregnant workers the same as any other worker who is similar in his or her ability or inability to do the job. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 is supposed to guarantee that, if the boss offers any other class of temporarily disabled workers a benefit or accommodation – like light duty, extra bathroom breaks, access to water, or a modified schedule – pregnant workers are given the same treatment.