The 6 th US Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with US District Judge Bernice Donald of the US District Court for the Western District of Tennessee that plaintiff Amanda Reeves had not shown that Swift Transportation intended to discriminate against her because of her pregnancy.
Reeves could not produce evidence that Swift or any of its employees made disparaging comments or wanted her off the job because she was pregnant, the appellate panel said.
The company’s policy mandated that i ts light duty positions were reserved for workers injured on the job. The court noted that a man recovering from surgery necessitated by anything other than an on-the-job injury would not have been eligible for light duty either. The appellate panel therefore reasoned Swift’s policy for light duty assignments was neutral and Reeves was actually seeking preferential, rather than equal, treatment.
According to court background, Reeves was able to lift up to 200 pounds that might need to be offloaded from a truck when she was hired in August 2002. In November, she learned she was pregnant. At that time her family doctor and her obstetrician requested from Swift that she not lift anything heavier than 20 pounds.
Reeves requested a light duty assignment and was told nothing was available for her. She was later fired.
The case is Reeves v. Swift Transportation Co., U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, No. 05-5271 (5/16/06). The ruling is here .