The U.S. Supreme Court in December heard arguments in a pregnancy discrimination suit against United Parcel Service (UPS) that is expected to have a broad impact on the question of an employer’s obligation to accommodate a pregnant employee under federal pregnancy discrimination law.

Peggy Young, a former part-time driver for UPS sued the company in Maryland federal court after the company refused to give her light-duty work, which her health care provider had recommended. Young, who was pregnant at the time, said the company’s stance forced her to take unpaid leave denied her accommodations that non-pregnant workers receive.

She has asked the high court to overturn the Fourth Circuit Court's decision in favor of UPS.

Ballard Spahr employment attorney Lucretia Clemons noted that UPS has already changed its policies to accommodate pregnant women. Clemons also said she was struck by the justices’ questions about what pregnancy discrimination law requires.

"They debated whether this portion of the statute requires that employers treat pregnant women in the same manner as they treat other employees who have a favored status (workers’ comp or disability) or whether it simply require[s] that the policy [be] facially neutral," Clemons added.

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