RESPONDENT:Labor and Industrial Relations Commission of Missouri
LOCATION:United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, Charlotte Division
DOCKET NO.: 85-129
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1986-1987)
LOWER COURT: Supreme Court of Missouri
CITATION: 479 US 511 (1987)
ARGUED: Dec 09, 1986
DECIDED: Jan 21, 1987
Christopher J. Wright – as amicus curiae, supporting respondents
Julie S. Levin – on behalf of the petitioner
Julia S. Levin – for petitioner
Michael L. Boiccurt – on behalf of the respondents
Michael L. Boicourt – for respondents
Media for Wimberly v. Labor and Industrial Relations Commission of Missouri
Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – January 21, 1987 in Wimberly v. Labor and Industrial Relations Commission of Missouri
William H. Rehnquist:
The opinion of the Court in No 85-129, Wimberly versus Labor & Industrial Commission of Missouri will be announced by Justice O’Connor.
Sandra Day O’Connor:
This case comes to the Court on the writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of Missouri.
The petitioner took a leave of absence from her employment because of her pregnancy with the understanding that she would be re hired only if a position was available when she was ready to return to work.
When petitioner notified her employer that she wanted to return to work there were no positions opened.
Missouri, unlike California, as discussed in a recent case before this Court, has no pregnancy leave requirement.
Petitioner then filed a claim for unemployment benefits.
Her claim was denied pursuant to a Missouri statute that disqualified a claimant who has left work voluntarily without good cause attributable to the work or the employer.
After her claim was denied the petitioner filed suit in State Court, contending that the Missouri statute was inconsistent with the Federal Unemployment Tax Act.
The Federal statute provides that no State participating in the federal-state unemployment compensation program shall deny compensation solely on the basis of pregnancy or termination of pregnancy.
In a unanimous opinion filed today, we affirm the judgment of the Supreme Court of Missouri and hold that under the plain language of the Federal Unemployment Compensation Statute, States are only prohibited from singling out pregnancy for unfavorable treatment.
Because Missouri neutrally disqualifies all workers who leave their jobs for reasons unrelated to their unemployment, pregnancy was not the sole basis for the State’s decision to deny petitioner’s claim.