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Justices Hear Md. Pregnancy Discrimination Case

WASHINGTON (WJZ) -- A discrimination case from Maryland is in front of the Supreme Court and its outcome could affect women across the country. A former UPS worker says she was forced into taking unpaid leave when she became pregnant.

Christie Ileto has more on the woman at the center of the case.

"Stand with Peggy" is the rally cry for a pregnancy discrimination case. Peggy Young is the face of this fight: a former UPS driver who, in 2006, was working in Maryland and put on unpaid leave when she got pregnant. Her case is now at the Supreme Court.

"This is not what we intended from the beginning; we just wanted what was right," she said.

Young, who was then living in Annapolis, requested lighter duty after her doctor told her she could no longer lift heavy packages. UPS refused, saying workers must be able to hoist up to 70 pounds.

"It wasn't UPS' place to force Peggy Young to choose between giving birth to her daughter, Trinity, or working her job," said Sharon Gustafson, Young's attorney.

In 2010, more than 54,000 women in Maryland brought home paychecks critical to their families. UPS says it never broke the law but recently volunteered to change its policy to provide more accommodations to pregnant women.

Lower courts have sided with UPS but now the Supreme Court is reviewing whether they violated a 36-year-old mandate that protects pregnant employees.

"I think from some of the questions you really see that the justices understand what Congress was trying to do in 1978 when they passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act," said Sam Bagenstos, Young's attorney.

Still, Young and hundreds of moms are sending a sincere but strong message.

"All of us women need to let them know we can work and be pregnant at the same time," Young said.

A decision is expected by late June.

Right now, nearly a dozen states have laws that require pregnant employees to be accommodated.

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