Article Summary

Based on oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court, the outcome of Young v. United Parcel Service Inc. seems too close to call. Faced with murky language in the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the justices struggled to rationalize a result that the majority appeared to favor: Giving pregnant employees a greater right to "reasonable accommodation" of their condition.

This expert analysis by TELG managing principal R. Scott Oswald was published by Law360 on December 3, 2014. The full article is . (Site requires paid subscription.)

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Oral Arguments In Young v. UPS Sound Too Close To Call

On Dec. 3, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Young v. United Parcel Service Inc., a case that may clarify employers’ obligation to adjust work duties for pregnant employees under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

The key question it seems is, can the Supreme Court get past the law’s troublesome wording to engineer an outcome that all sides can accept? Or, will the Supreme Court rule narrowly and leave Congress to fix the problem, much as earlier decisions did, such as General Electric Co. v. Gilbert, which prompted the original creation of the PDA in 1978?

Most justices seemed supportive of Peggy Young, the sympathetic petitioner in Young, but they got more tangled when trying to answer the precise question at issue: "Whether, and in what circumstances, the [PDA] requires an employer that provides work accommodations to non-pregnant employees with work limitations to provide work accommodations to pregnant employees who are 'similar in their ability or inability to work.'"