Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 October 2020
Chapter 3 rewrites two cases that deal with pregnancy discrimination: International Union, UAW v. Johnson Controls, and Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc. The original Johnson Controls case struck down a broad fetal protection policy forbidding women of childbearing age from working in jobs with lead exposure, but the Court failed to acknowledge the hardships of the individual women excluded, ignored evidence that men’s offspring also suffer harm from excess lead exposure, and failed to suggest cleaning up workplaces with toxic substances, rather than excluding employees from valuable jobs. The rewritten opinion cures these omissions and disavows the stereotypes of a policy assuming that all women are potentially mothers. The feminist judgment in Young holds that an employer providing accommodations for employees with physical restrictions similar to those of pregnancy must provide the same accommodations to a pregnant employee. It highlights the history of discrimination against pregnant women – a significant cause of women’s subordination in the workplace, with many women forced to quit as a consequence of employers’ shortcomings.