Early this week, the United States Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated decision in Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc., finding that UPS may have engaged in pregnancy discrimination by refusing to accommodate an employee’s pregnancy-related lifting restrictions by transferring her to a light duty position. In so holding, the Supreme Court applied the same legal standard to pregnancy discrimination cases as applies to cases based other categories protected under Title VII (race, sex, religion, ethnicity, and the like). Specifically, the Court applied the burden-shifting analysis articulated in McDonnell Douglas v. Green and its progeny, pursuant to which the plaintiff first must establish that the facts alleged are adequate to support her claim. Thereafter, the employer is given the opportunity to articulate a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for its action, which reason the plaintiff must show is merely a pretext for discrimination before she may proceed to trial. Read more
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) recently issued an enforcement guidance relating to the treatment of pregnant employees (the “Guidance”). The Guidance reaffirms the EEOC’s position that, although pregnancy itself is not a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), many temporary pregnancy-related impairments may qualify as disabilities. Temporary impairments that may qualify as disabilities include, for example, carpel tunnel syndrome, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and even nausea resulting in severe dehydration. Per the EEOC, therefore, employers may be required to offer reasonable accommodations to employees with such pregnancy-related impairments.
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