Final assignment reporting on women as an underserved population, providing details of cases, laws, and legislation that have been passed in relation to that community.

flip to next page Vonice Berry Women as an Underserved Group: Employment Rights in America What causes women to seek changes in laws for employment rights through the U.S. Supreme Courts? Although the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, and the Equal Rights Amendment support the protection of rights for women in the United States, discrimination continues to be a major obstacle. Protections for women as an underserved group often involve employment rights to help prevent sex-based discrimination such as pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, as well as racial discrimination toward women of color. Pregnancy discrimination in the workplace Pregnancy discrimination in is one aspect of women’s struggle for equality in America. The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) describes pregnancy discrimination as, “… treating a woman (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth.”1 Therefore, it is unlawful for a pregnant woman to be denied the right to work in the United States. The Supreme Court case Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc. may be able to help us evaluate laws and rights, as they pertain to pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. In the Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc. case, a UPS employee, Peggy Young, claimed to be the victim of gender and disability based discrimination.2 As Oyez explains, since Young could not lift the seventy pounds her job description required of her, per the advice of her physician, UPS made her take an involuntary 1. “Pregnancy Discrimination.” Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/sex.cfm (accessed October 18, 2015). 2. Chicago-Kent College of Law at Illinois Tech. "Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc." Oyez. https://www.oyez.org/cases/2014/12-1226 (accessed October 18, 2015).
flip to next page  Vonice Berry  Women as an Underserved Group  Employment Rights in America What causes women to seek cha...
back next Berry 2 leave of absence without pay. Our Greenberg and Page text states that discrimination against the disabled is prohibited, in accordance with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990.3 In the case of Young, her disability prevented her performance of regular work duties. According to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), as described by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, pregnant women who experience conditions related to pregnancy, must be treated the same as employees with similar abilities and inabilities to perform work duties.4 However, the EEOC further maintains that if an employee cannot perform her job duties because of a pregnancy, employers must provide her with “light duty, modified tasks, alternative assignments, disability leave, or leave without pay.”5 The Justices in the case decided 6-3 in favor of Young on March 24, 2015 and held that a petitioner may prove that she endured discriminatory treatment if it was caused by deception of the employer. The Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United States asserts that the struggle for “…gender neutrality and gender equality…” has prevented new laws and changes in employment benefits for pregnant women, new mothers, and mothers with toddlers.6 I feel that current laws should be changed to accommodate pregnant women because pregnancy is a time when women’s bodies undergo extreme changes and complications. The discrimination, in my opinion, occurs when women are treated differently because of this temporary disability. 3. Greenberg, Edward S, and Benjamin I Page. The Struggle for Democracy. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, Inc. (2014), 536. 4. “Pregnancy Discrimination.” Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 5. Ibid. 6. Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United States. “Pregnancy.” Vol. 4, by Martha A Fineman, edited by David S Tanenhaus, 87-92. Detroit: Macmillan Reference, 2008.
back  next  Berry 2 leave of absence without pay. Our Greenberg and Page text states that discrimination against the disab...
back next Berry 3 Racial discrimination in the workplace For women of color, discrimination is often a case of double jeopardy. Another Supreme Court case, Vance v. Ball State University allows us to better understand how racial discrimination in the workplace can be approached by the Courts. The Vance v. Ball State University case concerns Maetta Vance, an African American food service employee, who claimed she was discriminated against and subjected to a hostile work environment.7 The EEOC website provides a description of race discrimination and that it is the “unfavorable” or hostile treatment of and employee based on race.8 Oyez conveys that Vance lost work hours, was not provided with breaks, and was punished without reason. According to our text; de jure discrimination is “unequal treatment based on government laws and regulations” and will prompt strict scrutiny by the courts. De facto discrimination is the “unequal treatment by private individuals, groups, and organizations” and persists as a reality of life.9 This is an instance of de facto discrimination because an individual committed the act. On June 23, 2015, the Supreme Court Justices decided 5-4 against Maetta Vance, and held that held that the person who committed the discrimination was not a supervisor, and was without the authority to hire and fire. An article by Warren Richey in The Christian Science Monitor makes reference to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent, in which she states, “…restricting the definition of supervisor, the Court once again shuts from sight the robust 7. “Vance v. Ball State University.” Oyez. https://www.oyez.org/cases/2012/11-556 (accessed October 18, 2015). 8. “Race/Color Discrimination.” Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 9. Greenberg and Page. Struggle. (2014), 536.
back  next  Berry 3 Racial discrimination in the workplace For women of color, discrimination is often a case of double je...
back next Berry 4 protection against workplace discrimination Congress intended Title VII to secure.”10 According to the EEOC website, “Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.”11 In Vance v. Ball State University, the Court's decision overlooks employees who act in supervisory roles. So then, the employee did not have the authority to fire Maetta Vance, only to oversee her work duties and subject her to harassment. Discrimination can sometimes be a two-way street for women of color. The Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United States provides an example to help us understand that, “a woman of color must often choose between speaking as a woman or speaking as a person of color.”12 In that, even her voice experiences inequality because of her race and her sex. In most instances, she can only speak in the one she feels might be worth the struggle—but aren’t they both of equal value? What Does the Future Hold? Women have made great strides for equality in America and the world over. As we have observed—not just in the mere examples provided here, but in all of the examples displayed throughout history—women have struggled desperately to change laws that continue in favor of discrimination. Now that we have a clearer view of how sex-based discrimination impacts women, we must ask an important question: How can the underrepresentation of women in the U.S. Supreme Court better serve women as a community? Let the struggle continue until it is truly evident that all men and women of all races are created equal. 10. Richey, Warren. "Supreme Court Makes it Harder for Workers to Win Discrimination Lawsuits." The Christian Science Monitor (National Newspapers Core), June 2013. 11. “Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.” Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 12. Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United States. “Intersections of Race and Gender.” Vol. 2, by Wendy Scott, 492-499.
back  next  Berry 4 protection against workplace discrimination Congress intended Title VII to secure.   10 According to t...
back next Berry 5 Bibliography Chicago-Kent College of Law at Illinois Tech. Vance v. Ball State University. Oyez. June 23, 2013. https://www.oyez.org/cases/2012/11-556 (accessed October 18, 2015). —. Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc. Oyez. March 24, 2015. https://www.oyez.org/cases/2014/12-1226 (accessed October 18, 2015). Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United States. “Intersections of Race and Gender.” Vol. 2, by Wendy Scott, edited by David S. Tanenhaus, 492-499. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2008. —. “Pregnancy.” Vol. 4, by Martha A Fineman, edited by David S Tanenhaus, 87-92. Detroit: Macmillan Reference, 2008. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. “Pregnancy Discrimination.” 2015. http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/fs-preg.cfm (accessed October 18, 2015). —. “Race/Color Discrimination.” 2015. http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/race_color.cfm (accessed October 23, 2015). —. “Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.” 2015. http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/titlevii.cfm (accessed October 23, 2015). Greenberg, Edward S, and Benjamin I Page. The Struggle for Democracy. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, Inc., 2014. Richey, Warren. "Supreme Court Makes it Harder for Workers to Win Discrimination Lawsuits." The Christian Science Monitor (National Newspapers Core), June 2013.
back  next  Berry 5 Bibliography Chicago-Kent College of Law at Illinois Tech. Vance v. Ball State University. Oyez. June ...