No one should have to choose between their job and the health of their pregnancy. Peggy Young was forced to do just that in 2006 when she became pregnant and her employer, UPS, refused to accommodate her with light duty as her doctor recommended. She was forced to take unpaid leave and go without her employer-provided health coverage.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard her case claiming UPS violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978. Outside, about 200 of her supporters from women’s groups across the political spectrum rallied in her support.
Moms Rising Executive Director Kristen Rowe-Finkbeiner says:
“Far too many employers are either ignoring or misinterpreting the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which was expressly designed to protect pregnant workers from discrimination and promote their economic security.”
Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus writes:
“Peggy Young’s Supreme Court case sounds like a throwback to the “Mad Men” era, when employers weren’t expected—or required—to welcome women in general and pregnant women in particular.”
Young’s story is, says Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women and Families, “ unfortunately, not unusual, as reflected in the number of pregnancy discrimination claims filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.” She adds:
“Women make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce and are breadwinners in nearly two-thirds of families….When employers deny equal treatment to these women, they force workers like Peggy Young to make an impossible choice between jeopardizing their families’ financial security and following their doctors’ advice for a healthy pregnancy.”
This blog originally appeared I AFL-CIO.org on December 3, 2014. Reprinted with permission.http://www.aflcio.org/Blog/Political-Action-Legislation/Rally-Urges-Court-to-End-Pregnancy-Discrimination
About the author: Mike Hall is a former West Virginia newspaper reporter, staff writer for the United Mine Workers Journal and managing editor of the Seafarers Log. He came to the AFL- CIO in 1989 and has written for several federation publications, focusing on legislation and politics, especially grassroots mobilization and workplace safety.