Beth-West-15_webThe United State Supreme Court issued its much anticipated decision in the case of Young v. UPS on March 24, 2015.  As of now, Young’s pregnancy discrimination claim remains alive and well.

Below is a summary of the court’s ruling:

Factual and Procedural Background.

Young was a part-time driver for UPS. When she became pregnant, her doctor advised her that she should not lift more than 20 pounds. UPS, however, re­quired drivers like Young to be able to lift up to 70 pounds. UPS told Young that she could not work while under a lifting restriction. Young subsequently filed a lawsuit under the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (the “Act”), claiming that UPS act­ed unlawfully in refusing to accommodate her pregnancy-related lift­ing restriction. She brought only a disparate-treatment (intentional) claim of dis­crimination, which a plaintiff can prove either by direct evidence that a workplace policy, practice, or decision relies expressly on a protect­ed characteristic, or by using the burden-shifting framework set forth in the case of McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green. Under the McDonnell Douglas framework, the plaintiff has “the initial burden” of “establishing a prima facie case” of discrimination.  If she carries her burden, the employer must have an opportunity “to articulate some legitimate, non-discriminatory reason[s] for” the difference in treatment.  If the employer articulates such reasons, the burden shifts back to the plaintiff who has “an opportunity to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the reasons . . . were a pretext for discrimination.” (cites omitted)

UPS filed a summary judgment motion in the District Court. In reply, Young presented several favorable facts that she believed she could prove. In particular, she pointed to UPS policies that accommodated work­ers who had lifting restrictions similar to hers because they were either injured on the job or had disabilities covered by the Amer­icans with Disabilities Act   (ADA).  UPS policies also accommodated employees who couldn’t drive at all because they had lost Department of Transportation (DOT) certifications. Young argued that these policies showed that UPS discriminated against its pregnant employees because it had a light-duty-for-injury policy for numerous “other persons,” but not for pregnant workers. UPS responded that, since Young did not fall within the on-the-job injury, ADA, or DOT categories, it had not discriminated against Young on the basis of pregnancy, but had treated her just as it treated all “other relevant persons.”
Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Issues Decision in Young v. UPS

By:  James L. Brannen

In Sanchez v. Swissport, Inc. (2013) 2013 Cal. App. Lexis 131, the Second Appellate District of California, for the first time, has addressed whether an employer who provides the full amount of leave allotted by the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) to a pregnant employee with early pregnancy-related disabilities, can still be held liable for failing to provide additional leave to that employee under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) as a reasonable accommodation until after the employee gives birth.


Continue Reading Second Appellate District Holds that Employers do not Fulfill FEHA Obligations by Providing the Statutory Four-Month PDL Leave to Employees with Pregnancy-Related Disabilities