March 11, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court Sides With Employer In Pregnancy Leave Discrimination Case

Employment Law Update

On May 18, 2009, the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in AT&T Corp. v. Hulteen. Reversing the Ninth Circuit’s decision, the Court held that AT&T did not violate the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (“PDA”) by calculating the accrual of pension benefits in a way that gives less retirement credit to employees who took pregnancy leave before enactment of the PDA than to employees who took other kinds of medical leave. The decision illustrates a strong policy against retroactive application of the PDA and partially immunizes employers that use bona fide pension schemes that incorporate seniority accrual rules that were once lawful, but have since been deemed discriminatory by subsequent legislation.