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On March 25, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Young v. United Parcel Service. This case concerns whether the Pregnancy Discrimination Act requires an employer that provides work accommodations to employees who are not pregnant but have work limitations to provide similar accommodations to pregnant employees who share similar abilities and limitations. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed a grant of summary judgment in favor of the employer, agreeing that there was no genuine issue of material fact and that the employer was entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
By a vote of 6-3, the Supreme Court vacated the Fourth Circuit’s judgment and remanded the case for further proceedings. Viewing the record in the light most favorable to the pregnant employee, the Court stated, there is a genuine dispute as to a material fact: whether UPS provided more favorable treatment to at least some employees whose situation cannot reasonably be distinguished from that of the pregnant employee. The Court left open for resolution on remand, however, whether a genuine dispute of fact had been raised on the reasons UPS gave for treating the pregnant employee differently and whether they were simply a “pretext” for unlawful discrimination.
Justice Breyer delivered the opinion of the Court, which Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined. Justice Alito filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. Justice Scalia filed a dissenting opinion which Justices Kennedy and Thomas joined. Justice Kennedy also filed a dissenting opinion.
To discuss the case, we have Teresa Collett, who is a Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas School of Law.