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U.S. justices to take up Maryland pregnancy case

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court will take up the pregnancy discrimination claims of a package delivery driver for UPS in Maryland who was refused a light duty assignment so she could continue working while pregnant.

Peggy Young lost her health benefits when UPS would not grant her light duty or allow her to continue her regular job. Young says the company allows employees with some medical conditions to perform jobs in which they can avoid lifting heavy packages.

Young, who joined UPS in 1999 and worked out of a UPS facility in Landover, initially filed her lawsuit in federal court in Maryland. She said that in 2006 her doctor wrote UPS a note letting the company know Young was pregnant and recommending she not lift more than 20 pounds early in her pregnancy and 10 pounds later in her pregnancy. Young says she offered to do her regular job since it rarely involved heavy lifting, but the company told her no and that there was no light duty available for pregnant employees.

Young went on an extended leave of absence without pay and ultimately lost her medical coverage. She returned to work at UPS after giving birth in 2007.

Lower courts ruled that UPS did not violate the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in dealing with Young. The Obama administration agreed with Young, but said recent changes in federal law could cause courts to rule in another way.

The case will be argued later this year.