The United States Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments on the case of Young v. UPS on December 3rd. The case involves the question of whether pregnant employees are entitled to reasonable accommodations under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act similar to those that covered employers must provide to disabled employees under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits employers with fifteen or more employees from discriminating against employees on the basis of pregnancy. Similarly, the ADA prohibits employers with fifteen or more employees from discriminating against employees because of an actual or perceived disability. The ADA also requires employers to take affirmative steps to assist disabled employees by requiring employers to provide them with a reasonable accommodation in some situations. A reasonable accommodation is intended to make a disabled employee more easily do her job despite a disability she may have. Examples include light duty work, flexible work schedules or work sites, allowing employees to work remotely, or providing an employee modified job duties.
While there is no question that the ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees where appropriate, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act does not directly address the issue of accommodations to pregnant workers. The issue will possibly be resolved by the Supreme Court next month in Young v. UPS. The case has received a considerable amount of attention from the media and special interest groups alike since the Supreme Court announced its upcoming review.