Faculty Notes

Prof. Joanna Grossman’s Piece on Pregnancy Discrimination Case Published in Women’s Rights Law Reporter

Joanna L. Grossman, Sidney and Walter Siben Distinguished Professor of Family Law and Hofstra Research Fellow

Joanna L. Grossman, the Sidney and Walter Siben Distinguished Professor of Family Law, published, with Deborah Brake of University of Pittsburgh School of Law, “Introduction to Amici Curiae Brief in Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc.” in Volume 36 of the Women’s Rights Law Reporter (Spring/Summer 2015), a venerable journal that was home to some of the most important writing on pregnancy discrimination law in the early years.

This piece introduces and explains the amicus brief that Professor Grossman co-authored in a pregnancy discrimination case decided by the Supreme Court this term. The brief is published as an appendix to the article.

In that case, the employer denied a light-duty position to a pregnant woman with a lifting restriction, despite having a policy that allowed several other groups of comparably restricted employees to have alternative work during the period of disability. The woman, Peggy Young, sued under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, a law passed in 1978 to eliminate rampant pregnancy discrimination.

In its March 2015 ruling, the Supreme Court held that an employer’s withholding of an accommodation that is provided to other workers can be unlawful if the employer’s reason for denying it can only be explained by cost or if the burden on pregnant employees outweighs any benefit to the employer.

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