Young v. UPS

March 25, 2015

Wider Opportunities for Women
1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 930
Washington, DC 20036
T: 202-464-1596| F: 202-464-1660

On the same day, two branches of government made important steps forward for women’s economic security and employment equity. The Supreme Court’s decision, released today, in Young v. UPS is a victory for Peggy Young and pregnant women. Also today, Representative DeLauro and Senator Mikulski introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act to their respective Chambers of Congress. See WOW’s two statements, below, on these monumental events.

WOW Applauds Supreme Court Decision in Young v. UPS – Now Is the Time for Congressional Action

See full release online here.

The Supreme Court released their opinion, today, in Young v. UPS. The case centered on Peggy Young’s claims that UPS discriminated against her need for accommodations under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. UPS required Young to get a note from her doctor, describing any limitations she may have because of the pregnancy. When the doctor restricted Peggy from lifting more than 20lbs for the duration of her pregnancy, UPS required her to take unpaid leave until she was no longer pregnant. UPS had, at the time, a policy of offering injured and sick workers – and even drivers who were charged with DUIs – alternate work duty.


Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers are required to and often accommodate a large number of non-pregnant workers. The Court’s 6-3 decision today acknowledged that if an employer accommodates these workers with injuries or disabilities, it is a violation of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act to refuse these accommodations to pregnant workers.


“Today’s decision is a victory for pregnant women, women in the workforce, and for Peggy Young,” said Amanda Andere, WOW President and CEO.


The Court’s decision, however, still leaves many questions for pregnant women. Individuals may still face uncertainty about their rights – whether because of the size of their workplace, length of tenure with a company, or for those without knowledge of their employer’s practice in providing accommodations to others.


These existing uncertainties necessitate a strong Congressional response to the issues pregnant women face in the workplace to ensure all workers have access to accommodations for their pregnancy related medical needs.

Congress must act now to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to create a clear rule and ensure no woman ever has to choose between employment leading to economic security and her own health and pregnancy.

As a woman working in a male dominated industry, Peggy Young’s experience also raises questions about the need for guidance to employers in nontraditional industries to ensure workplaces are free from discrimination. Often a key barrier to women’s participation and success in nontraditional jobs, discrimination can push women out of well paying occupations – like those in transportation logistics, construction, manufacturing, and IT – that can lead to women’s economic security. For more information on WOW’s National Center for Women’s Employment Equity and the importance of nontraditional jobs to women’s economic security, click here.

WOW Celebrates that Representative DeLauro and Senator Mikulski Stand with Women and Reintroduce the Paycheck Fairness Act in Congress Today

See full release online here.

For years women have earned just three-quarters of what men have earned. While differences in occupations and time out of the workforce for family care contribute to disparities, simple pay discrimination remains an obstacle to women pursuing economic security. The 1963 Equal Pay Act was the earliest civil rights law to address pay discrimination. Today, the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA) will strengthen that law to put it on an equal footing with civil rights legislation based on race, national origin and disabilities and close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act.


“The Paycheck Fairness Act is of vital importance to women and their families’ economic security. The reintroduction of this legislation today is an important step towards women’s equal pay for equal work,” said WOW President and CEO, Amanda Andere.

A recent analysis by WOW finds that closing the gender wage gap between a typical woman and man, both working full time, would increase that women’s economic security by 22%, better enabling her to afford basic needs for herself and her family. A woman working full time at the current wage gap making median wages will make over $320,000 less over the course of her career. Persistently lower wages throughout a woman’s working years result in a diminished capacity for saving and increased economic insecurity.

The PFA requires employers who pay women less for the same work as men to prove that the disparities are job-related and a business necessity. The PFA permits successful plaintiffs to collect the same compensatory and punitive damages collected in pay discrimination suits based on race and national origin, permits employees to share salary information without fear of retaliation, supports salary negotiation training for girls and women and eases potential burdens on business by creating incentives for employers to follow the law, strengthening federal assistance to employers and exempting small businesses.

For more information on WOW and the Paycheck Fairness Act, click here.

Wider Opportunities for Women
1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 930
Washington, DC 20036
T: 202-464-1596| F: 202-464-1660
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