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The courts have protected students from sexual harassment in school, established the right to use contraceptives, helped women make inroads in police and fire departments around the country, enforced women's right to equal pay, and found that the Constitution guarantees equal marriage rights to same-sex couples. The robustness of these key legal protections in future years will turn on the balance of power on the federal courts.

Highlights

Fact Sheet | Obergefell v. Hodges, DeBoer v. Snyder, Bourke v. Beshear, and Tanco v. Haslam: The Supreme Court Should Presume Laws Discriminating on the Basis of Sexual Orientation are Unconstitutional

March 4, 2015

This term, the Supreme Court agreed to hear four cases on the right of same-sex couples to marry. The cases are from four states—Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee—and raise two historic constitutional questions: whether states have the power to ban marriages between same-sex couples and whether states can refuse to recognize such marriages performed lawfully in another state.

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Fact Sheet | Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc.

November 18, 2014

This term, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether the federal law protecting pregnant workers from discrimination means what it says. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) requires employers to treat pregnant workers the same as they treat those who are “similar in ability or inability to work.” At issue in Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc. is whether an employer who accommodates the medical needs of employees with non-pregnancy related disabilities and injuries (as is often required by virtue of the Americans with Disabilities Act, for example) must extend the same type of accommodations to pregnant workers with similar medical needs. If the Supreme Court rules against Peggy Young, it will lead to many pregnant workers being forced to choose between their jobs and the health of their pregnancies. This fact sheet describes the case and what is at stake in the Supreme Court’s decision.

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Legal Briefs & Testimony | NWLC Brief on Behalf of 123 Members of Congress in Young v. UPS Pregnancy Discrimination Case

September 12, 2014

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) requires employers to treat pregnant workers the same as they treat those who are “similar in ability or inability to work.” At issue in  the Supreme Court case Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc. is whether an employer who accommodates the medical needs of employees (as is often required by virtue of the Americans with Disabilities Act, for example) must extend the same type of accommodations to pregnant workers with medical needs.

Too many employers still deny pregnant women basic accommodations that would allow them to continue working and the courts have ignored the clear language and intent of the PDA in allowing this to continue. As a result, pregnant women are forced to choose between their jobs and their health. This amicus brief, filed on behalf of 123 Members of Congress, analyzes the plain language of the PDA and sets out Congress’s desire to ensure fair and equal treatment of pregnant workers through passage of the PDA.

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Legal Briefs & Testimony | NWLC Supreme Court Amicus Brief Supporting the Contraceptive Coverage Benefit

January 28, 2014

The National Women’s Law Center brief, joined by 68 other organizations,  focuses on the rights of the women who would be harmed by for-profit companies refusing to provide coverage of birth control without cost-sharing as guaranteed under the contraception regulations.  It analyzes how the contraception regulations further the government’s compelling interests in women’s health and gender equality.  More specifically, it explains how providing access to the full range of FDA-approved contraceptive methods without cost-sharing reduces the risk of unintended pregnancy, thereby forwarding the health of women and children; promotes equal access to health care for women; and leads to greater social and economic opportunities for women.  The brief emphasizes that the rights and interests of the women covered by the companies’ health plans weigh heavily against the companies’ RFRA claims and that the Supreme Court has never held that religious exercise provides a license to harm others or violate the rights of third parties as the companies seek to in these cases.   

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More Resources

Fact Sheet | Obergefell v. Hodges, DeBoer v. Snyder, Bourke v. Beshear, and Tanco v. Haslam: The Supreme Court Should Presume Laws Discriminating on the Basis of Sexual Orientation are Unconstitutional

March 04, 2015

Fact Sheet | Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc.

November 18, 2014

Fact Sheet | Women’s Rights at Stake: Why Federal Courts Matter to Women

September 29, 2014

Legal Briefs & Testimony | NWLC Files 5th Circuit Brief In Support of Marriage Equality

September 26, 2014

Legal Briefs & Testimony | NWLC Brief on Behalf of 123 Members of Congress in Young v. UPS Pregnancy Discrimination Case

September 12, 2014