October 17, 2014: “I had to take unpaid leave during my pregnancy which caused me to lose my health insurance,” says Nichele Fulmore, a UPS package driver who became pregnant in 2003. “Most companies treat pregnant ladies as an off the job injury. It is because of a lady being pregnant that we all are here in the first place—no company should force a pregnant woman out of work. They should provide light duty for her.”
UPS Teamsters across the country have their eyes on a crucial case that the Supreme Court will take up this December on pregnancy discrimination at UPS.
The case could impact thousands of women who load trucks or deliver packages at UPS, and millions more working women in the U.S.
The case involves Peggy Young, a pregnant UPS Teamster who requested an alternative work assignment so she would not have to burn her vacation and FMLA leave before the birth of her child.
UPS management refused, saying that Young did not qualify for light duty because she had not suffered an on-the-job injury.
Angry Teamster women have fought UPS’s unfair pregnancy policy for years. The Hoffa administration has refused to take up the issue.
Now the Supreme Court is taking up Young’s case, which will swing on the court’s interpretation of the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which bars companies from discriminating against pregnant women.
UPS argues that forcing pregnant women to work at their regular positions is not discrimination because UPS also denies alternate work to male employees (who can’t get pregnant).
Peggy Young, thousands of UPS women Teamsters and women’s rights activists say the PDA says the same benefits (“light duty” or alternative work) should be made available to all employees according to their ability or inability to work.
Pregnant women should not be held to a different standard than other employees who are offered light duty because of an injury.