Today, the Supreme Court announced its decision in support of the Affordable Care Act.
The ruling holds that the Affordable Care Act authorized federal tax credits for eligible Americans in states with their own exchanges and in the 34 states with federal marketplaces.
This past week, in the case of Young v. UPS, the Supreme Court held that a plaintiff may be able to prove unlawful failure to accommodate a pregnancy-related condition through evidence that other non-pregnant employees were provided with the requested accommodation.
The Supreme Court held that an individual may establish a prima facie case of pregnancy discrimination by “showing actions taken by the employer from which one can infer, if such actions remain unexplained, that it is more likely than not that such actions were based on a discriminatory criterion.” The employee needs only to show:(1) she was pregnant at the relevant time; (2) her employer did not accommodate her; and (3) her employer did accommodate others who are similar only “in their ability or inability to work.”
Once the plaintiff meets the initial burden of establishing her prima facie case, the burden shifts to the employer to articulate a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for denying the requested accommodation. If an employer is able to satisfy its burden of articulating a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason, the final burden shifts back to the plaintiff to show that reason to be pretextual. The burden may be met if the employee can point to evidence that the employer’s policies “impose a significant burden on pregnant workers, and that the employer’s ‘legitimate, non-discriminatory’ reasons are not sufficiently strong to justify the burden, but rather – when considered along with the burden imposed – give rise to an inference of intentional discrimination.”
The Supreme Court’s decision lowers the burden for plaintiffs and sets a higher burden for employers to overcome. It will be substantially easier for plaintiffs to succeed in pregnancy discrimination and accommodation claims.