Deborah Brake’s Amicus Brief is Cited in Supreme Court’s Young v. UPS Decision


The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled, 6-3, in favor of UPS driver Peggy Young—who claimed UPS violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) when it denied her a workplace accommodation commonly made for other employees with similar physical restrictions—vacating an earlier judgment for UPS and sending the case back to lower courts. Download a pdf of the Court’s opinion here.

It is mostly a victory, says Pitt Law Distinguished Faculty Scholar and Professor Deborah Brake. Brake coauthored, with Professor Joanna Grossman of Hofstra Law School, an amicus brief filed last September in support of Young’s position and that urged the Court to hear arguments in Young v. UPS. The brief was cited by Justice Kennedy, although it was in his dissenting opinion.

Brake and Grossman have coauthored a two-part analysis of the opinion as a column for’s Verdict section, in which they liken the Court’s ruling to “splitting the baby” because it rejects the interpretations of the PDA offered by both parties and instead offers its own. They contend that while it was a “clear victory for Peggy Young,” the Court’s decision leaves the door open for potential issues related to current and future pregnancy discrimination cases. In part two (published April 20, 2015), they explore some issues (the "Afterbirth") further and conclude the Young v. UPS ruling will likely invite more litigation, which is not uncommon for an employment discrimination ruling. "The Court, however, has set the stage for broader protection for pregnant workers—and a more disciplined approach to ensuring their rights under the PDA are enforced."

Read part one, “Forceps Delivery: The Supreme Court Narrowly Saves the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in Young v. UPS” on here.

Read part two, "Afterbirth: The Supreme Court’s Ruling in Young v. UPS Leaves Many Questions Unanswered" on here.

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