Maryland Woman Fights for Pregnancy Rights After Losing Job - NBC4 Washington

Maryland Woman Fights for Pregnancy Rights After Losing Job



    Peggy Young lost her job once she became pregnant. Now she's fighting to protect other women in the workplace. (Published Monday, April 15, 2013)

    A Maryland woman is fighting to protect women in the workplace after she lost her job because she was pregnant, she said.

    Peggy Young tells News4 she was delivering letters and packages for UPS in 2006 when she became pregnant with her daughter Triniti.

    She went to the company nurse, who told her to get a doctor's note listing her restrictions. Young then provided the company with a doctor's note that recommended that she not lift more than 20 pounds.

    "They basically told me, 'Go home. We don't have anything you can do until you're no longer pregnant because you're a liability'," Young said.

    Despite her efforts to stay on the job, Young was not allowed to return to work until after she gave birth. She lost her pay and health insurance, and she couldn't get unemployment.

    "I was willing to work," Young said. "I was willing to do my regular job, and they wouldn't let me, period.... We shouldn't be made to choose between our job and having a child.'

    What happened to Young, she said, was not only wrong, but illegal. She took the fight to court -- but lost that case and an appeal.

    However, the case sparked the attention of Maryland Del. Tom Hucker (D-Montgomery County), the Baltimore Sun reported, and  in response, he introduced legislation that would require businesses to permit pregnant women to perform less strenuous work.

    The bill passed the Maryland General Assembly and is now awaiting Gov. Martin O'Malley's signature.

    "We just have to make sure that we are sending a message to the Maryland lawyers and to Maryland workers that we value Maryland workers and we're not going to tolerate back-door discrimination against pregnant women," Hucker said.

    Young also plans to petition the U.S. Supreme Court to hear her case.

    "So far, the courts have said that what UPS did wasn't illegal," said Sharon Gustafson, Young's attorney. "We believe it was, and we believe it violated the clear terms of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act."

    News4 was not been able to reach UPS to comment on this story.

    However, in a statement published in the Baltimore Sun, UPS said that the courts have validated that the company policy does not discriminate against pregnant workers or violate the Americans With Disabilities Act.