Yesterday, the question of whether it is legal to fire someone for becoming pregnant went before The Supreme Court. December 3, 2014. That’s not a typo. TWO THOUSAND AND FOURTEEN!
Peggy Young had been working for UPS for four years when she became pregnant. When she told her employer that her doctor told her not to lift packages heavier than 20 pounds, she didn’t anticipate she would lose her job and health insurance for nine months. But that’s what happened, and that’s why her case is now in front of the Supreme Court.
Though UPS requires that its drivers be able to lift up to 70 pounds, Young assumed she could keep her job during her pregnancy because almost all of the packages she handled were under 20 pounds. She only handled packages weighing over 20 pounds a few times each month, and a co-worker had already offered to help on those rare occasions.
And here’s the thing. Part of the reason Young expected more flexibility from her employer was because UPS does, in fact, accommodate other workers by giving them light duty if they need it due to a disability or an on-the-job-injury. Its policy even accommodates workers who lose their commercial driver’s license because of a DUI. But if you get pregnant, instead of busted for driving while drunk, you’re screwed.
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