July 1, 2014

The Supreme Court grants cert. in a pregnancy discrimination case.

SCOTUSblog reports:

[Peggy Young] was a driver for United Parcel Service.  When she became pregnant, the company expressed sympathy for her but refused to put her on light duty — that is, limiting the weight of packages she had to lift — because that policy was reserved only for those injured on the job, those disabled under federal disability rights law, or those who lost their federal driver certificate.

Young contended that she was treated less favorably than other workers who became temporarily unable to do their normal jobs, and she argued that this violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978.  
Young lost in the Court of Appeals.

32 comments:

cassandra lite said...

If only she'd worked for Hobby Lobby.

Voile Falushe said...

I worked for thirty years in delivery. I expect it's the same in every physically demanding job. Standards have been lowered for women. Men do the heavy lifting on both ends most often. When a woman shows up at the delivery point, even, a man will jump onto the truck and carry the load.

Women will not keep the job. My station was always described as too male and too white. Any woman who applied had a huge edge getting hired. Blacks were hard to hire but easy to keep once enough of them were drug screened to get one on the job but getting the acceptable mix was still a constant goal. In my thirty years I knew only one woman who worked more than a few years on the job.

I didn't start out thinking much about the difference between women's work and men's work but I saw what I saw. If saying so makes me a bigot then speaking of facts is enough to label a person because the facts are as they are. It's a rare woman who even wants a job in delivery once she's gotten it - pregnancy to the side. What they want, and usually manage to get to a certain extent, is the pay with the sharp corners taken off the labor.

traditionalguy said...

She will win that one for sure. The Roberts majority is not insane.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Does the new Olympic sport of running while pregnant help or hurt this case?

B said...

Equal pay for equal work!

SGT Ted said...

Juxtapose that against the woman who ran the 800 meter while 8 months pregnant.


Maybe we should be repealing laws that privilege women in the workplace.

FleetUSA said...

Sounds like she has a case. I'm surprised UPS didn't adapt as they are a smart company generally.

mccullough said...

The anti-pregnancy discrimination amendment was meant to rectify the stereotypes that women couldn't or shouldn't work while pregnant. Now this woman wants an accommodation? Bullshit. Pregnancy is not an injury and most are not a disability. Equality means you do the job.

Tank said...

that policy was reserved only for those injured on the job, those disabled under federal disability rights law, or those who lost their federal driver certificate.

This seems like a reasonable policy. She was not injured on the job, disabled or without her certificate. I'm guessing this is why she won.

Now, if she got pregnant "on the job," .... ????

Anthony said...

FleetUSA - having read the Appeals Court decision, she doesn't have a case. Maybe UPS should change its policy, but they might have a good reason to not accommodate workers who become injured (but not disabled in the ADA sense) off-the-job. Maybe the ADA should state that a pregnancy which limits a woman's lifting ability beyond some point actually *is* a disability, but it doesn't say that.

Anonymous said...

She choose to get pregnant. Her company didn't force her to get knocked up so why should they be punished?

Sounds like she simply wants more free stuff and special privileges.

lemondog said...

...even though the U.S. Solicitor General, when asked for advice, had urged the Court not to hear it. The government lawyer had told the Court that, while the lower court in this case got the law wrong, Congress had passed some revisions in the law and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is working on new guidance. Lower courts should be given a chance to take those developments into account, the Court was told.

What are the revisions?

Storkdoc said...

As I tell my pregnant patients the Feds do not consider a normal pregnancy to be a disability. thus I cannot magically get them off work or even reduce their work loads. I can send a note requesting lighter work, but I don't know of any study or published guidelines that restrict lifting in a normal pregnancy. normal being the key word.

gspencer said...

"We just want to be treated the same as men, but with a little more equality."

Unknown said...

I noticed several cases on the blog which the solicitor general said shouldn't be considered, but they were. Is this common?

gerry said...

Sounds like she simply wants more free stuff and special privileges.

It's the war against men.

Tank said...

Yiiii dopey me.

...why they won...

n.n said...

While pregnancy is a singularly female-oriented "burden", it is a communicable "disease" which can be prevented through behavior modification. It cannot be contracted through normal workplace actions. It can be cured through abortion/murder with 99% effectiveness. There are also vaccines which can prevent it with 100% effectiveness.

Perhaps Obamacare should mandate that employers pay for the vaccine. Although, Obamacare does cover preexisting conditions. So, she may choose to seek relief through Planned Parenthood or compensation through "health" insurance.

That said, The Constitution does offer a peculiar preference to procreative behavior (i.e. "posterity"). Perhaps if women were consistent, and rejected the abortion/murder choice, there is a constitutional argument which supports classification of pregnancy as promoting the general Welfare, and would thus be eligible for a special defense.

n.n said...

To be clear, it is not women, per se, who are eligible for a special status; but the peculiar state, "pregnancy", which is an integral process in human evolution from conception to birth, which deserves special protection.

traditionalguy said...

But can we have it both ways. If abortifacients are not medical service because pregnancy is not a disease, then pregnancy must be normal temporary part of life in healthy human employees.

It has nothing to do with her disability to fail to become a man.

OK, then you are left arguing, " That silly gal should expect to be discriminated against for being a normal and, healthy female employee.

Or we can salt the argument with false guilt to cow the humans and say, "How dare careless sluts stand up for pregnancy treatment? The righteous OOPS only needs big strong employees and robots. Babies! We can import all the human babies we need from Central America, and Hispanics are more docile anyway.

Does anyone really want to make those arguments?

Lyssa said...

Storkdoc said: As I tell my pregnant patients the Feds do not consider a normal pregnancy to be a disability. thus I cannot magically get them off work or even reduce their work loads. I can send a note requesting lighter work, but I don't know of any study or published guidelines that restrict lifting in a normal pregnancy. normal being the key word.

That's interesting - I used to process short term disability claims, and the guidelines that we used (of course, I can't recall what they were called) said something along the lines of a pregnant woman being disabled from medium work (which I think was defined as lifting over 25 lbs on a regular basis) after around 24 weeks. This was several years ago, and I may not remember it entirely correctly, but it seemed like we were more strict than most guidelines. Interesting - I wonder if the company had decided that it is more cost-effective to just pay these claims, since they are necessarily time-limited, and focus on limiting long-term cases instead.

Martha said...

An armored car driver was shot and killed in New Orleans in December during cash delivery to a bank. Drivers are instructed to remain in the armored truck, in the driver's seat with the windows and doors closed during cash transfers. Drivers are paired with another guard who is armed and the one responsible for transporting the money to and from the bank.

This driver happened to be paired with a recently hired female. She asked for assistance because the cash load was too heavy. Against regulations, the driver exited the armored car and was ambushed by 3 masked robbers. The female guard was so unnerved --she claimed-- she did not even unholster her gun and attempt to protect the driver. The driver died of multiple gunshot wounds at the scene.

No word on whether the armored truck company has stopped hiring women to haul cash in and out of banks.

damikesc said...

OK, then you are left arguing, " That silly gal should expect to be discriminated against for being a normal and, healthy female employee.

I'm not remotely following the logic here. She asked for a change in her duties due to her condition, which is not covered by the ADA. Her employer is not obligated to allow the alteration and opted not to.

n.n said...

Where's the husband/father? Traditionally, and naturally, the husband/father shoulders the near exclusive burden of working until the child is born and ideally sometime thereafter.

Then again, women demand that government be a surrogate husband/father, so it is logical, and consistent, that they would also demand that a corporation should fill the same role.

I wonder what humanity will look like after the social experiment is said and done.

jazzizhep said...

@traditionalguy

Speaking of having it both ways....

No discrimination should be illegal based on other's choices. If I don't want to hire tatted up dudes, such discrimination is not illegal. Same with a pregnancy, if it is a choice.....(plz note I said should, as the fed's incessant interjection into businesses through feel-good legislation like FMLA means what should happen, rarely does)

Shall I quote a recent comment from SCOTUS? "Does the law mandate what it expressly forbids? I know the comment was about the Michigan anti-discrimination case and it's intersection with the 5th and 14th amendments, but it seems to apply to Young's claim and the pregnancy legislation of 1978.

traditionalguy said...

The essence of feminism most men accept is that women are capable of independence. They demand the ability to support themselves no matter how renegade the men in their are. That was the women's long war of independence the Professor and others fought and won. Men's professions and men's jobs are history. That clock won't turn back.

So disqualifying a child bearing female worker seems to be a way to reverse their gains. Easy as can be....so long as we designate a pregnancy as a punishable offense.

What do we have against pro-life Moms now. Is our message that they get abortions or they get fired? IMO it is a silly demand for revenge on them.

Humperdink said...

My daughter-in-law, 9+ months pregnant, helped us unload 150 bales of hay Monday. Carried the bales from the hay wagon to the hay elevator. She jumped at the opportunity.

Note: she had an ulterior motive, she wants a baby now.

Gahrie said...

Look this is a case of wanting everything.

A significant amount of pregnant women are going to want to get special treatment because of their pregnany...ie a change in duties, maternity leave etc.

A significant number of pregnant women are going to object to special treatment because of their pregnancy.

Both groups are more than willing to sue to protect their "rights".

Storkdoc said...

Alyssa, if asked for a note, we too try restricting lifting to no more than 25 lbs after 24 weeks. But one day a company asked for my evidence for that. I did a journal search, looked in all my texts, searched ACOG. there was nothing. I could send no evidence or any guideline.

Brando said...

1) Is she entitled under any law to lighter duty as a reasonable accommodation due to her pregnancy?

2) If not, then did the employer treat her any differently than a similarly situated employee who was not pregnant?

If the answer to 1) and 2) is "no" for both, then I don't see where she has a claim.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Brando said...

If the answer to 1) and 2) is "no" for both, then I don't see where she has a claim.

That is because you have limited yourself to looking at the law as it is written. It is likely three or four of the justices will be able to find a right lurking in the penumbrae.

Lem said...

Oh no... @Scotusblog is going to overturn Roe v Wade ;)