WASHINGTON – It was 2006 when Peggy Young of Lorton, Virginia discovered she was pregnant.
The former part-time air driver for the United Parcel Service in Landover, Maryland said the company asked her to get a doctor’s note listing her restrictions.
She got the note and when she turned it in, she said her building manager told her she couldn’t work.
“I was willing to do any job that they would let me do and they basically told me you’re too big of a liability, you can’t come back until you are no longer pregnant,” Young said.
Young said she was forced not to work, lost money and eventually lost her insurance through the company. She turned to Arlington-based attorney Sharon Fast Gustafson.
“I just really believe that pregnancy discrimination is the thing that’s still happening and if there is anything I can do to help, I want to do it,” Gustafson said.
The case first went to the United States Equal Opportunity Commission, but after a year the EEOC failed to get to the case and Young decided to file a complaint in U.S. Federal Court.
She said UPS made accommodations for workers who had been injured on and off the job and for those with disabilities, but the policies didn’t cover pregnant women.
UPS has maintained its policy is “pregnancy neutral” and two lower courts, as well as the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, sided with the company.
Young appealed to the Supreme Court, and the high court has agreed to hear her case in December.
Young, 42, said this case isn’t just about her.
“The cause is worth it, that women that are pregnant and want to work should be allowed to work — period,” says Young.
Gustafson said it comes down to “women shouldn’t have to choose between continuing their pregnancies and continuing their jobs.”
As the case nears, Young is seeing many supporters come forward. The American Civil Liberties Union recently joined New York-based organization A Better Balance to file a brief with the Supreme Court in support of Young.
When asked about the case, a UPS spokeswoman said in a statement the company is committed to a fair workplace and has consistent policies to prevent discrimination and adhere to our legal obligations.
“This was validated by both the district and appellate courts,” the statement continued. “We look forward to the Supreme Court’s review of the merits of this case.”
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