Tomorrow the Supreme Court will hear the case of Peggy Young, who is suing UPS under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Her case could make a huge impact for the improved rights of working women and mothers in our country, many of whom work right up until they pop that baby out. Sure would be nice, right?
Here’s what you need to know to get up to speed.
1. Peggy Young was a driver for UPS. When she got pregnant seven years ago, her doctor recommended she not lift anything heavy, which is par for the course when you get knocked up. Peggy claims that most of what she lifted wasn’t actually heavy, and if she needed help with a package she could have asked a co-worker to lift it, or UPS could have assigned her to strenuous duties. Needless to say, that didn’t happen.
2. When she informed her employer of her doctor’s note, UPS placed Peggy on unpaid leave. Peggy told the New York Times that as a result of this decision, “I lost my health benefits. I lost my pension. And I lost my wages for seven months. And my disability benefits.”
Now a mother to three kids, Young herself said: “I don’t want my daughters to have to choose between having a baby and supporting a family.” (Is it too early to drop a YAS KWEEN into this post? Because we’re feelin’ it!)
3. Peggy sued UPS for discrimination against pregnant women in 2009. She believes that because UPS made accommodations for other injured employees to stay in their jobs, they should have done the same for her. Her lawyers say that UPS even “accommodated people who lost their regular driver’s licenses due to drunk-driving convictions. They would give them a separate driver to drive the truck while they were delivering packages.” If true, this is a WTF move for sure.
According to Yahoo, Peggy has “lost two rounds in lower courts.” The Supreme Court will hear Young v. United Parcel Service on Wednesday.
4. UPS announced that it will change its policy toward pregnant women in January, 2015. The company will offer pregnant employees “light duty,” which is what Young believes they should have offered her in the first place. ”The new policy will strengthen UPS’s commitment to treating all workers fairly and supporting women in the workplace,” said UPS spokeswoman Kara Ross.
This is all well and good, but it doesn’t excuse UPS’s previously lame behavior. It’s also too little, too late. After all, Peggy first sued in 2009. It took them what – six years to figure out how to be nice to pregnant employees? *side eyes UPS*
5. President Obama and 120 Democratic congressmen and women supports Young, and Justice Ginsburg spoke about her case in an interview with Elle this year. She also has the support of many feminist organizations and – bizarrely – anti-choice groups, who, according to their lawyer Carrie Severino, feel that the law “protects the unborn child as well as the working mother who faces economic and other difficulties in bearing and raising the child.”
The enemy of your enemy is your friend, apparently. If it’s gonna help pregnant women get better rights under the law then we’re all for a little collaboration now and then. Go Team Peggy.