Accommodating Pregnant Workers After Young v. UPS: Navigating New Obligations Absent Clear Court Guidance

Drafting Policies to Avoid Discrimination Claims Under the PDA, ADA and State Laws

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

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Conducted on Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Recorded event now available

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Course Materials

This CLE course will guide employment counsel in reviewing and updating clients’ pregnancy accommodation policies and practices in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Young v. UPS. The panel will discuss how to reconcile the Court’s vague new standard with EEOC guidance and differing state laws regulating workplace accommodation of pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, and offer best practices for crafting workplace policies that avoid Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) violations.


In March 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court held the PDA could require employers to offer reasonable work accommodations—such as light duty—to pregnant workers if they offer accommodations to other workers similarly situated in their ability or inability to work. The Court declined deference to the EEOC’s 2014 Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination (and was somewhat dismissive of it), choosing to fashion its own framework for establishing discrimination under the PDA.

Employers hoping the Court’s decision might provide clear guidelines on how best to accommodate pregnant workers are instead facing uncertainty, since the Court failed to articulate what constitutes a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for denying accommodation to a pregnant worker. Instead, the case was remanded to the 4th Circuit with instructions to analyze the issue from a disparate impact perspective. Employers must now attempt to reconcile the Court’s decision with a maze of federal and state statutes and regulatory agencies protecting pregnant workers from discrimination and retaliation.

Listen as our distinguished panel of employment counsel discusses best practices for reviewing accommodation policies and practices to ensure compliance with the PDA under the Court’s new framework. The panel will review the Court’s decision and offer guidance on crafting policies that avoid discrimination and retaliation claims under the various federal and state laws governing pregnancy accommodation.



  1. Review of Young v. UPS
  2. Overview of PDA, ADA, EEOC enforcement guidance
  3. Review of federal and state laws governing pregnancy accommodation
  4. Best practices for accommodation policies
  5. Defenses to discrimination and/or retaliation claims


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What factors might constitute legitimate, nondiscriminatory, nonpretextual reasons for denying an accommodation?
  • Under what circumstances must employers accommodate pregnant employees?
  • What steps should employers take when engaging in the “interactive process.”


Alexis C. Knapp
Alexis C. Knapp

Littler Mendelson

Ms. Knapp represents employers in all areas of labor and employment law in state and federal courts and before the...  |  Read More

Stoneburner, Christina
Christina A. Stoneburner

Fox Rothschild

Ms. Stoneburner counsels clients on complying with applicable federal and state employment and labor laws and...  |  Read More

Philip R. Voluck
Philip R. Voluck

Managing Partner - Pennsylvania Office
Kaufman Dolowich Voluck

Mr. Voluck has 33 years of experience practicing employment law with a particular emphasis on handling claims of...  |  Read More

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