Pregnancy leave case respondents say Ledbetter law on their side

Respondents in a case involving pregnancy leave credit currently pending at the Supreme Court say the newly-enacted Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act bolsters their case.

AT&T Corp. v. Hulteen, which was argued in December, stems from a suit filed by AT&T employees claiming that the company violated Title VII by failing to include time taken off for pregnancy leave in their pension calculations. The pregnancy leave in question took place before the passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, but the employer’s calculation of the pension benefits took place after the law was enacted.

Ultimately an en bacn panel of the 9th Circuit ruled in favor of the employees, saying the Act applied on the date the pension calculations were made, and AT&T sought and was granted certiorari.

In the supplemental brief filed today, the employees say the new statute clarifies legislative intent that acts based on past biased employment decisions are prohibited. It goes further to say the principle is even clearer in the context of pension determinations.

“Indeed, the link between AT&T’s discriminatory seniority practices and reduced compensation is even more direct than the connection between a performance evaluation and a pay raise decision,” the supplemental brief states. “An employer ordinarily takes performance reviews into account as one of many factors in making what is often a highly discretionary decision on pay. Under AT&T’s pension formula, however, every day of uncredited leave automatically results in a reduction in the worker’s pension.”



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