UPS worker sparks Supreme Court case on pregnancy leave

The Supreme Court Wednesday considers whether businesses must accommodate pregnant employees. This appeal started with a UPS worker whose doctor told her not to lift heavy boxes, and now justices are set to hear arguments in a case that could affect millions, CBS News' Jan Crawford reports.

This case involves Peggy Young, a former UPS employee. She's arguing against being put on unpaid leave from work when she became pregnant in 2006.

Young and women's groups are hopeful the court will rule in their favor, but if it doesn't it will be up to Congress to fix the problem.

"I just wanted to work, keep my benefits, keep my pension money, keep my wage, help support my family," Young said.

When Young became pregnant, her doctor told her not to lift more than 20 pounds, preventing her from doing her job.

"Once I got the note I took in to the health nurse and she basically said we don't provide light duty for off-work incidents, basically you cannot work, while you're pregnant," Young said.

UPS put her on unpaid leave, which left Young without salary and health benefits for seven months.

"A woman should never have to decide between starting a family and supporting her family," Young said.

Young hired Virginia lawyer Sharon Gustafson and sued, arguing the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act required the company to make reasonable accommodations.

She lost unanimously in the lower courts, which said UPS did not discriminate.

UPS said it was following the law, but it recently voluntarily changed its policy to offer more accommodations for pregnant women, a move the company notes is "actually ahead of many companies and government agencies."

That's why advocates are looking to the Supreme Court, hoping it will require other companies to offer similar arrangements.

"Women who are in Peggy Young's situation will find themselves sometimes faced with a choice between their paycheck and their pregnancy, and that's something we don't want women to have to decide between," said Carrie Severino, who is representing 23 anti-abortion groups siding with Young.

They're forming an unusual coalition with women's rights organizations, like Marcia Greenberger's.

"What it speaks to is fundamental fairness, a fundamental recognition that women do not lose rights when they become pregnant," Greenberger said.

Young said she's taking a stand for the next generation.

"I don't want either of my daughters to have to experience this or go through this, and not just my daughters, all women, women should not have to make that decision," Young said.