The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits employers in New York and around the country from discriminating against pregnant workers. On Sept. 17, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced that United Parcel Service, Inc., has agreed to pay $2.25 million for violating the provisions of the 1978 law. EEOC investigators concluded that UPS failed to offer pregnant employees the opportunity to perform light duties that would have allowed them to continue working.
According to the EEOC, UPS has entered into a conciliation agreement to settle the matter. The money will be paid to workers who suffered financial losses between 2012 and 2014 because they were not offered accommodations required under federal law. Their compensation reflects the difference between the short-term disability payment they received and what they would have earned had they been able to continue working.
The EEOC is requiring UPS to extend light duty accommodations that it agreed to provide to pregnant unionized employees in 2015 to all of its workers. UPS human resources personnel and administrators will also be provided training about this type of workplace discrimination and the provisions of the PDA. By entering into the agreement and taking a proactive approach, UPS was able to protect its reputation and avoid a potentially damaging lawsuit.
When investigating claims of discrimination or unfair treatment in the workplace, attorneys with experience in this area may seek to find out if accommodations were made to some workers but not others. When this kind of evidence is uncovered and a legitimate business explanation is not provided, attorneys could urge employers to settle discrimination claims discretely at the negotiating table rather than being the target of a publicized lawsuit.