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California Federal Savings & Loan Association v. Guerra

United States Supreme Court
479 U.S. 272 (1987)


Through enactment of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA), Congress added discrimination on the basis of pregnancy to those forms of employment discrimination prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). The second clause of the PDA mandates that pregnant employees be treated the same as nonpregnant employees with respect to employment decisions. California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) goes beyond the PDA in its prohibition against pregnancy discrimination. FEHA obligates employers subject to Title VII to reinstate employees upon their return from pregnancy disability leave to the same, or a similar, position in the workplace unless no job is available on account of business necessity. Lillian Garland, a receptionist for California Federal Savings & Loan Association (Cal Fed) (plaintiff), went on pregnancy disability leave in January 1982. When she sought to return to Cal Fed in April 1982, she was informed that no positions were available. She filed a complaint before the state Fair Employment and Housing Commission (FEHC) (defendant). Before the complaint was heard, Cal Fed filed a lawsuit against FEHC, seeking an injunction against the FEHA reinstatement requirement and a declaration that the provision is preempted by federal law. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari after the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled against Cal Fed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Marshall, J.)

Dissent (White, J.)

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