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Pregnancy Discrimination in Employment: Peggy Young vs. UPS & the State of Florida

On March 25, 2015, the Supreme Court overturned the 4th District Court of Appeals decision against Peggy Young, a driver for UPS who had been refused light-duty tasks (such as lifting packages under 20 pounds) due to her pregnancy. Ms. Young was put on unpaid leave and asked to return after having her child. While this was not a complete victory for Ms. Young - the case was sent back down to the 4th District Court of Appeals so that it could be re-heard - it has helped define the intent of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978.

Pregnancy is defined as a disability in current law and must be accommodated in the same way that other physical disabilities are under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 was added to Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 to explicitly prevent this type of discrimination from happening. In UPS' case, there was, in the Court's view, unequal policies for those who suffered from different types of disabilities or reasons why they could not do their job - for example, there were accommodations made for a driver who received a citation for DUI, but not the plantiff, whose temporary disability was pregnancy.

Florida is currently considering adding pregnant workers as a protected class of employee. This is progressing in the Florida Senate and is even moving (albeit slowly, and perhaps will not pass this session) in the Florida House. This would give Florida workers another avenue for relief.

If pregnancy discrimination is happening to you, don't hesitate to contact my firm to find out your legal rights.

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