Supreme Court Rules for Employer in Pregnancy Case

Posted: June 5, 2009 in Uncategorized Career Center – Supreme Court Rules for Employer in Pregnancy Case

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When you read this article, you wonder what was the Supreme Court thinking?

The 7-2 decision in AT&T Corp. v. Hulteen focuses on the way in which employers calculated the effect of pregnancy leave on pension accruals before passage in 1978 of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. That law required employers to treat pregnancy leave the same as temporary disability from that point forward, but it was not retroactive. AT&T responded to the law at the time by equalizing treatment of both kinds of leave prospectively, but four employees now say the prior lesser treatment of pregnancy leave amounts to actionable sex and pregnancy discrimination.

Retiring Justice David Souter, writing for the majority, said AT&T’s actions were not illegal when done, so cannot now be viewed as discriminatory. The Court’s only woman, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, wrote a dissent joined by Justice Stephen Breyer. Ginsburg asserted that AT&T committed a “current violation” of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act “when, post-PDA, it did not totally discontinue reliance upon a pension calculation premised on the notion that pregnancy-based classifications display no gender bias.”

All the more reason for our Supreme Court to have more women on the bench!

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