A pregnant worker's case against UPS looms as a key test for the Supreme Court's male-dominated membership.(Photo: Larry Steagall, AP)
WASHINGTON — When Peggy Young's pregnancy discrimination claim against United Parcel Service comes before the Supreme Court Wednesday, the potential implications will be greater for the court itself than for Young or UPS.
Several cases involving gender discrimination and reproductive rights have hit a 5-4 roadblock at the conservative-leaning court under Chief Justice John Roberts. Now groups representing women, workers, employers and others are watching to see how the justices handle the company's refusal to reassign Young to light duty during her pregnancy.
After last June's ruling that Hobby Lobby and other employers with religious objections could deny their employees health insurance coverage for contraceptives, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg went so far as to suggest her male colleagues had a "blind spot" on the issue.
"This is an important case for the court," says Brianne Gorod, appellate counsel at the liberal Constitutional Accountability Center. "The Roberts Court has often ignored the realities of the workplace to privilege employers over their female employees."
The case won't have a major impact on Young, who left UPS in 2009, three years after the dispute over her pregnancy. And it won't have a major impact on UPS, which announced a new company policy last month that will...