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Pregnancy discrimination debate hits home for Michigan waitress

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Saginaw, MI (WNEM) — Cassi Naylor serves up sandwiches with a smile at Wally’s in downtown Saginaw.

She’s six and a half months pregnant, but she’s not letting that slow her down. In fact, she plans on working until her baby girl arrives.

“I can’t afford it,” Naylor said. “I need my income, I need to be able to pay my bills and I need to make sure that I am set when I am on maternity leave.”

Fortunately for her, Michigan passed a civil rights law in 2009 protecting pregnant women from being discriminated against.

That wasn’t the case in Maryland in 2006, though, when pregnant UPS truck driver Peggy Young was let go after she asked to be put on a 20-pound lifting limit, per doctor’s orders.

The ACLU of Michigan’s staff attorney Brooke Tucker said the company discriminated against Young.

“UPS was routinely providing other employees, non-pregnant employees, with similar lifting restrictions, with accommodations, with other light-duty job assignments, but not giving pregnant employees similar light duty assignments,” Tucker said.

Not only was Young left without a job, but without health insurance when she and her baby needed it most.

Naylor said she sympathizes with her, “I would be heartbroken because I wouldn’t be able to provide for my child in the way that I would like to.”

Young’s case headed to the Supreme Court of the United States today and the ACLU hopes it settles pregnancy discrimination cases once and for all.

“A concrete ruling by the courts instructing employers that they must treat pregnant employees the same as their non-pregnant employees,” Tucker said.

As for Naylor, she plans to continue saving up for her baby girl over the next two and half months, “She’s going to be so spoiled.”

By Meg McLeod