In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the landmark case of Young v. UPS that a plaintiff alleging unlawful pregnancy discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 based on an employer’s failure to accommodate her pregnancy establishes a valid claim if she can show that: (1) she is in the protected class; (2) she sought but was denied an accommodation; and (3) her employer did accommodate other non-pregnant workers “similar in their ability or inability to work.” If she succeeds, the burden then shifts to the employer to put forth a legitimate non-discriminatory reason for denying the plaintiff’s request.
While the Court stopped short of ruling that Title VII mandates an accommodation by an employer whenever it does so for any other non-pregnant worker, it made it easier for a pregnant worker to prove intentional discrimination based on failure to accommodate.
In Durham v. Rural/Metro Corp., No. 18-14687 (11th Cir. April 17, 2020), the appeals court reversed a trial court’s dismissal of a plaintiff’s pregnancy discrimination claim based on grounds that it “mistakenly” believed that the plaintiff was required to put forth evidence of comparators who were accommodated for off-the-job injuries, which went to the employer’s reasons for denying the accommodation rather than whether the plaintiff had established a valid claim.
Members of the Center for Workplace Compliance (CWC) can read more here.