Wisconsin workplace pregnancy discrimination laws have the potential to be effected by a case that is headed for the U.S. Supreme Court. A woman’s lawsuit against UPS for placing her on unpaid leave instead of putting her on light duty during her pregnancy will be heard by the court, according to reports.
The lawsuit dates from when the woman was pregnant in 2006 and working for UPS. Her obstetrician placed her on work restrictions due to her pregnancy and sent a note detailing that she should not be required to lift more than 20 pounds. UPS responded by placing her on unpaid leave despite the fact that they routinely put people with other types of temporary disabilities on light duty. Thus, she alleges she was treated differently than similarly situated workers because of her pregnancy.
UPS is contending that its treatment of the woman was legal. However, while the employer continues to fight the case as it heads to the Supreme Court, they have instituted a change in their own policies, stating that women who are pregnant and have doctor-ordered work restrictions will be placed on light duty instead of being forced to take unpaid leave. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act, a law passed in 1978, has made it illegal for employers to treat pregnant women differently than the manner in which other similarly situated employees are treated.
Like other types of protected statuses such as race, gender, religion, disability and national origin, it has long been unlawful for employers to discriminate based on pregnancy. When women are forced to take unpaid leave while other workers are allowed to continue working on light duty, they may be able to pursue compensation in court.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Meet The Working Mother Taking Her Pregnancy Discrimination Case To The Supreme Court“, Dave Jamieson , October 31, 2014