Pregnancy Discrimination Act does not require special accommodations

Despite 4th Circuit ruling, companies should still be careful in light of amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act

Employers do not have to provide special accommodations to pregnant workers under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), the 4th Circuit ruled on Jan. 9 in Young v. United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS). But businesses should still be cautious before denying those accommodations, especially in light of subsequent amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

In fall 2006, pregnant UPS driver Peggy Young gave her supervisor two separate doctors’ notes explaining that she should not lift more than 20 pounds for the first 20 weeks of her pregnancy. Although Young’s job rarely required her to move large packages, her supervisor told her that she could not return to work as long as the lifting restriction was in effect. 

Claims Rejected

On the ADA claim, the appeals court found that UPS had no obligation to engage in an “informal, interactive process” to ascertain the existence of Young’s disability—as advised under the ADA—because it had acted based on doctors’ notes that Young supplied. 

Alanna Byrne

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