“The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments today in the most important case for women and families this term. At issue in Peggy Young v. United Parcel Service (UPS) is whether the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 outlaws unequal treatment for pregnant workers. The law unmistakably requires pregnant women to be treated the same as other workers who are similar in their ability or inability to work, and women’s health, economic security and equal rights hang in the balance as the Court considers this case.
Peggy Young was a part-time driver for UPS when she became pregnant in 2006. When her medical provider recommended that she lift no more than 20 pounds to protect the health of her pregnancy, she asked for “light duty” – a seemingly reasonable request given UPS’s policy of offering the same modification to other employees for other reasons. But the company denied her request and forced Peggy Young to take unpaid leave and go without her employer-provided health coverage at a critical time for both her health and economic security.
The sad and almost unfathomable truth is that stories like Peggy Young’s are not rare. And the repercussions are significant for women, families, our economy, and our nation’s commitment to equality in the workplace. As nearly half the U.S. workforce and breadwinners in nearly two-thirds of families, women’s wages are too important to allow employers to break the law by firing or forcing women out of their jobs for becoming pregnant. It also threatens the health of women and their children.
We all have a stake in ensuring that women can holds jobs and pursue healthy pregnancies in this country. When employers deny pregnant women the same on-the-job modifications provided to others, they are forcing women like Peggy Young to make impossible choices between following their doctors’ advice and jeopardizing their families’ financial security – and the plain language of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act states that they are violating the law. Women and families across the country are counting on the Court to make that clear once and for all.”
The National Partnership submitted an amicus brief in Young v. UPS on behalf of 12 organizations that are committed to improving maternal and infant health. The brief is available at: www.NationalPartnership.org/Young.