Courtesy of The New York Times

Courtesy of The New York Times

Kudos to Peggy Young for doing what many would be afraid to do. She sued her employer, United Parcel Service (UPS) because they refused to honor a note from her prenatal provider that requested light work duty. Young was pregnant and could not lift more than 20 pounds without jeopardizing the safety of her unborn child.  UPS, with the backing of large corporations with deep pockets, challenged Young’s request so she took them to court – and lost. However, with the determination of a fearless mother, she didn’t blink at the lower court’s rejection of her case. She took it all the way to the highest court in the land, the U.S. Supreme Court which agreed with Young and essentially said the both UPS and the lower courts were wrong. Pregnant women deserve the same rights and consideration as any other person who has a disability.

While our country is far from being perfect, the thing that sets us apart from others and makes us a great nation is our rule of law. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act under Title 7 was established in 1978 to protect the rights of pregnant women. 70% of our country’s workforce represents women who have children and 6.5% of all discrimination cases. Here is how it protects pregnant women:

  • An employer cannot refuse to hire a pregnant woman because of her pregnancy, because of a pregnancy-related condition, or because of the prejudices of co-workers, clients, or customers
  • An employer may not single out pregnancy-related conditions for special procedures to determine an employee’s ability to work.
  • Any health insurance provided by an employer must cover expenses for pregnancy-related conditions on the same basis as costs for other medical conditions. An employer need not provide health insurance for expenses arising from abortion, except where the life of the mother
  • Pregnancy-related benefits cannot be limited to married employees. In an all-female workforce or job classification, benefits must be provided for pregnancy-related conditions if benefits are provided for other medical conditions.

Young is to be commended for her courage to speak up and the US Supreme Court should be commended for listening.