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Just in: Supreme Court rules in pregnancy discrimination lawsuit

She didn't win, but she didn't lose.

What a Virginia woman locked in a longstanding litigation battle with mega shipment and logistics company UPS did garner today was another shot at a judicial victory in her employment discrimination suit against the Atlanta-based conglomerate.

Several years ago, the woman was a UPS employee delivering packages. Following her pregnancy and a doctor's recommendation, she requested that UPS provide her with lighter than usual duties to accommodate her condition.

The company refused, citing a policy that limited light-duty options to workers under only a few select circumstances. Pregnancy was not a condition that qualified for an adjustment.

The employee filed a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit, with UPS defending that its policy was fair and legal because it did not specifically single out pregnant women.

Although that argument prevailed in two lower-court proceedings, the matter was kept alive when the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear the case on appeal. Justices from the nation's highest tribunal heard oral arguments last December.

And then the court ruled earlier today, pronouncing in a 6-3 decision that the now ex-employee can reargue her case pursuant to a more worker-friendly standard. Companies defending against discrimination claims, like UPS, can continue to argue the legality of limiting policies, provided that they are based on nondiscriminatory factors (e.g., light duties awarded based only on seniority).

Employment discrimination claims can cover a lot of territory, ranging from matters such as disabilities, race and gender to age, sexual orientation and, as noted in this post, pregnancy.

Such matters can be -- and often are -- quite complex and can be governed under both federal and state laws. Persons with questions or concerns regarding workplace discrimination can obtain prompt answers and strong legal representation from an experienced employment law firm.

Source: ABC News, "Justices revive ex-UPS worker's pregnancy bias lawsuit," Mark Sherman (Associated Press), March 25, 2015

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