The Americans with Disabilities Act protects Colorado workers from suffering employment discrimination due to their disabilities. While that is clear, there seems to be some recent confusion over exactly which conditions are protected by that and other acts. In one case that is soon to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, a Colorado woman who claims that she suffered employment discrimination because of her pregnancy believes that the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act dictates that pregnant women must be treated as if they too are suffering from a short-term disability.
The case involves a woman who worked for United Parcel Service. According to the woman, she was told by her doctor that she needed to do work that was less physically strenuous during her pregnancy. She states that she requested lighter work at UPS, but that her request was not honored. Instead, the company told the pregnant woman to take an unpaid leave of absence from her job.
The company says they will honor light duty requests from any employees who have been injured at work. They state that they will also honor requests according to the Americans with Disabilities Act. UPS maintains that they did not have to offer light-duty work to the employee simply due to her pregnancy.
With the Supreme Court addressing the issue, changes may be forthcoming. Should the court rule that the woman’s request for light-duty work should have been honored under the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act, it will allow other women in Colorado, and elsewhere, who suffer similar employment discrimination due to their pregnancies to seek justice in court. Those who pursue employment discrimination suits and are successful may be awarded damages for the losses they suffered due to the discrimination.
Source: waaytv.com, “SCOTUS will take up case of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace”, Megan Wiebold, Nov. 4, 2014