The Pregnancy Discrimination Act

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act

The pregnancy discrimination act came about due to a request following a the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that employers are not required to accommodate pregnancy related restriction, even though they are required to accommodate others with injuries and disabilities.

In the UPS case, a delivery driver was placed on unpaid leave without health insurance coverage after her physician put her on a 20-pound lift restriction. The driver filed suit against UPS saying the company made accommodations for those with disabilities, those who had been hurt on the job, and those who had lost their driver certification.

A federal district court ruled in favor of UPS saying the company made a “gender-neutral” decision, and the Fourth Circuit Court upheld that decision, saying that to rule in favor of the driver “would imbue the PDA with a preferential treatment mandate that Congress neither intended nor enacted.” The driver argued that “[t]o the contrary, it would merely guarantee the equal treatment the statute demands. It would simply require an employer that accommodates non-pregnant employees’ work limitations to do the same for pregnant workers who are just as able to do the job” (

UPS said that a review of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) is unnecessary because prior courts “unanimously recognized that a pregnancy-blind accommodations policy” does not afford “disparate” treatment.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (S. 942/H.R. 1975), would amend current laws regarding an employer’s obligation to grant reasonable accommodation to employees who have work limitations because of pregnancy or childbirth, or a related medical condition. The Act is currently pending in Congress.