Should employers treat pregnant employees who suffer temporary disabilities the same way they treat other employees with temporary disabilities?
Yes, says the U.S. Office of the Solicitor General.
However, Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr, says most federal appellate courts who have addressed the issue have decided it incorrectly by holding that employers do not have to accommodate pregnant workers who suffer temporary pregnancy-related disabilities.
Verrilli nevertheless recently recommended that the U.S. Supreme Court decline to review a case in which Peggy Young, a United Parcel Service driver, was denied “light duty” work when she was pregnant, despite a doctor’s note stating she should not lift more than 20 pounds during the first half of her pregnancy and not more than 10 pounds for the second half.
Verrilli said two developments may prompt courts to re-assess the issue of pregnancy accommodation. He said the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is “currently considering the adoption of new enforcement guidance on pregnancy discrimination.” He also said 2008 amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act cover a broader scope of impairments. Pregnant workers who can’t get protection under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA) may have better luck with the ADA, he said . [Read more…]