Peggy Young had been working the early morning shift at UPS for ten years when she got pregnant. She was just a few months along when she says her supervisors refused to accommodate her request to only lift light packages. Instead, she was placed on unpaid leave for the last six months of her pregnancy, losing her healthcare benefits, her pension and her disability benefits. Young sued UPS under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, a case that's now arrived at the Supreme Court. On Wednesday, SCOTUS will hear hear Young's case, deciding, finally, exactly what accommodations employers need to provide for pregnant people.
Young has written that she wanted to continue working, with only minor modifications to her job duties. Instead, she says, UPS's "health manager" told her that there was no policy at the company for light duty for pregnant people. The New York Times reports that the company provided job accommodations for people who were injured on the job, as they're required to do under the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to one of Young's lawyers, Sharon Fast Gustafson, they even accommodated people who had lost their driver's licenses due to drunk driving convictions: "They would give them a separate driver to drive the truck while they were delivering packages."
Young argued that UPS should treat her the same way they would treat employees with a similar inability to work. UPS countered by saying that pregnancy isn't a disability and shouldn't be treated as one. (Still, a company spokesperson told the Washington Post that even though they stand by their policy, they have, as the paper puts it, "UPS has changed its policy and will consider accommodations for pregnant workers with pregnancy-related restrictions on activity).
Young left UPS for good in 2009. She has three children now, two daughters and a son. Triniti, the baby she was carrying during her fight with UPS, is now 7. She tells the Post that although she's a private person, she's pursuing this case for her girls: "I don't ever want them to experience what I did. We need to fix this. For them, and for all women."
Image via AP