New York Employment Law Blog

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Is Pregnancy Now a Disability?

In Young v. UPS, the United States Supreme Court held that under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, an employee can rebut an employer’s legitimate business reasons for termination if the employee can show that the failure to accommodate the pregnant employee – which, in this case, involved a request to perform light duty work during pregnancy – created significant a significant burden to the employee.  Because UPS provided similar accommodations for other employees in protected classes – including disabled employees – the Supreme Court reversed summary judgment to UPS and remanded the case to the Fourth Circuit for further proceedings.

So what is the fallout?  A new standard was created by the Court so that now, employers must look to see what accommodations have been provided to other employees in the past to determine whether an accommodation should be granted to a pregnant employee.  As a result, employers should review their policies to consider whether they impose a “significant burden” on pregnant employees, and consider engaging in a interactive process when a pregnant employee requests an accommodation as would be done with a disabled employee.

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