We previewed this case back in December when it was argued. It boiled down to whether employers could pay pension benefits based on discrimination against pregnant employees that occurred before the Pregnancy Discrimination Act took effect. As predicted in December, the case was too similar to Lily Ledbetter’s case to have any optimism about how this Court would rule.
Today, the Court showed that the lack of optimism was warranted. In a 7-2 decision (Ledbetter was 5-4), the Court ruled that past acts of discrimination against pregnant employees can affect current pension benefits when those acts occurred prior to the PDA. Predictably, Justice Ginsburg dissented. Surprisingly, she was joined by Justice Breyer alone.
It’s too bad Congress didn’t foresee this when it passed the Lilly Ledbetter Act earlier this year. It would have been very easy to insert language into that Act to have remedied this situation.
- David S. Cohen