Skip to contentNational Women's Law Center

Womenstake, NWLC's Blog

When It Comes to Working Women, Young v. UPS May Finally Be the Court’s Chance to Get it Right

Posted by Abigail Bar-Lev, Fellow | Posted on: December 04, 2014 at 02:20 pm

Cross-posted from the Alliance for Justice.

In the last couple of years, the Supreme Court has had a lot to say about working women. Unfortunately, none of it has been good.

In the past year and a half alone, the Court has made it harder for women to sue their employers for sexual harassment, limited the rights of home health care workers—who are nearly all women—to organize, and given bosses a religious trump card they can use to quash women’s rights to insurance coverage for birth control. But in the Young v. UPS case, which the Justices heard yesterday, the Court gets another chance to get it right.

Unfortunately, the Supreme Court’s recent record on working women shows just how blind the justices have been to the realities of the workplace.

Read more... Add new comment

Stony the Road We Trod: Parenting, Racial Justice, and Philanthropy

Posted by Nancy Withbroe, Vice President for Development and Strategy | Posted on: December 04, 2014 at 02:12 pm

17 years ago this Christmas Eve, I learned that I would be, as my midwife put it, “a mother of sons.” Pregnant with a second boy, I reflected on the responsibility I’d been given, as expressed by a friend: “The world needs more men like the ones you and your husband will raise.”

The baby I carried that Christmas is now a tall, broad-shouldered teenager with a deep baritone and sharp wit. Peter spent many weekends of his childhood running around our neighborhood outfitted head to toe in camouflage, engaging his best friend in epic “battles” with dart guns and, later, target practice with airsoft rifles in our backyard. As he aspires to a career in the Marines, I worry about the real battles and violence he will confront someday. As a feminist, I worry that some of the men with whom he’ll serve someday may not share the values that his dad and I have taught him about how to treat the women with whom he will serve. And, like any parent, I worry about if he’ll be safe when he learns to drive and if he’ll know what to do when he faces bullies at school.

But, through the countless afternoons when Peter and his pal played in our neighborhood, I never worried that a police officer would mistake their play for serious menace and their toys for real weapons. It never occurred to me that they could be killed for their shenanigans. Why? Because my son is white and his friend is Korean-American.

Read more... Add new comment

Department of Ed Takes Single-Sex Classes Out of the Twilight Zone

Posted by Adaku Onyeka-Crawford, Fellow | Posted on: December 04, 2014 at 11:41 am

Imagine a public, co-ed elementary school in the 21st century where boys and girls are divided into separate classrooms for reading and language arts. In the boys classroom, pictures of race cars and sports imagery decorate the walls and students take part in competitive learning games; in contrast, the girls classroom is decked out in pink and animal prints with a poster warning students to “Act pretty at all times,” and students always work collaboratively in groups. Sadly, you’re not in the Twilight Zone. Classrooms like these actually exist in the United States today. Based on debunked studies that claim girls’ brains aren’t wired for competition and that boys’ brains can’t grasp emotions, single-sex classrooms that promote sex stereotypes have flourished—even though they employ sex-based discriminatory teaching methods that violate Title IX.

Read more... Add new comment

The Historic New Rule on LGBT Rights: Federal Contractors Can’t Discriminate Based on Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity

Posted by Abigail Bar-Lev, Fellow | Posted on: December 04, 2014 at 09:26 am

More lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) couples across the country have the right to marry than ever before. It is a rude awakening, though, that many of these individuals may walk into work after returning from their honeymoon to find that they have been fired for being gay.

Read more... Add new comment

NWLC Applauds Confirmation of Charlotte Burrows and David Lopez to the EEOC

Posted by Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment | Posted on: December 03, 2014 at 03:29 pm

Today, the Senate confirmed Charlotte Burrows to be a Commissioner on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and David Lopez to be General Counsel of the EEOC. Now-Commissioner Burrows served most recently in the Department of Justice, and previously, as counsel to the late Senator Ted Kennedy. Mr. Lopez was renominated to the General Counsel position, in which he has served with distinction since 2010.

Read more... Add new comment

Why Peggy Young Should Win By A Landslide

Posted by Amanda Hooper, Outreach Manager | Posted on: December 03, 2014 at 03:20 pm

Today, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Young v. UPS. When Peggy Young, a delivery driver for UPS, found out she was pregnant, her midwife recommended that she not lift more than 20 pounds—but UPS denied her request for light duty, even though it offered accommodations to other drivers with non-pregnancy related limitations.

Many Supreme Court cases are decided by a narrow 5-4 majority. But this particular case should not be one of those squeakers. Peggy Young should win by a landslide. Here’s why:

Read more... Add new comment

Is This Supreme Court Harmful to Women’s Health? Young v. UPS Will Tell

Posted by Emily Martin, Vice President and General Counsel | Posted on: December 02, 2014 at 10:39 am

Cross-posted from the American Constitution Society's blog.

“Come back when you’re not pregnant.” That’s what Peggy Young testifies her supervisor told her after her medical provider advised that she avoid lifting more than 20 pounds for the remainder of her pregnancy. Young, a UPS driver from Landover, Maryland, was forced out onto unpaid leave without company health benefits. On December 3, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in her pregnancy discrimination case, Young v. UPS. The case marks the first time the Court will hear a case critical to both women’s health and economic security since the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision in June, when five Justices held that Hobby Lobby and other companies could ignore the legal requirement that they include coverage of birth control in their health insurance plans if they had religious objections to contraception. The Young case will be an important test of whether a majority of the Supreme Court continues to have a “blind spot” where women’s issues are concerned. The stakes are high for women and their families.

Read more... Add new comment

Why Young v. UPS is a Reproductive Justice Issue

Posted by Kelli Garcia, Senior Counsel | Posted on: December 02, 2014 at 10:22 am

When a pregnant woman’s doctor tells her that she needs to stay off her feet, stop lifting heaving objects, or even drink plenty of water, her first thought should not be, “Will I lose my job?” But, for too many women, that’s their reality. On December 3rd, the Supreme Court will take up this issue when it hears arguments in Young v. UPS and decides whether companies can force pregnant workers to take unpaid leave rather than provide the same type of accommodations they provide to people with disabilities or on-the-job injuries. In this case, UPS even made accommodations that allowed people who had lost their commercial driver’s licenses as a result of DUI convictions to keep their jobs but refused to give light duty to former UPS driver, Peggy Young, when she became pregnant and her doctor recommended she that she not lift heavy boxes.

Read more... Add new comment