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AT&T wins maternity leave case

The Supreme Court on Monday dealt a setback to women who took pregnancy leaves from work before 1979.

The year before, Congress changed the law and said pregnancy must be treated like other temporary disabilities. In a 7-2 decision, the court agreed with AT&T; Corp. and refused to award pension credits to those who took a pregnancy leave before the change. The ruling in AT&T; vs. Hulteen reversed a decision of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Some women’s rights advocates compared the ruling to the pay discrimination decision against Lilly Ledbetter two years ago. “This decision is an all-too-timely reminder of the importance of having on the Supreme Court justices who understand the real-world impact of the law,” said Marcia Greenberger of the National Women’s Law Center.

The court also agreed Monday to hear two key cases in the fall: whether onetime media magnate Conrad Black was wrongly charged with “honest services” fraud; and whether the Accounting Oversight Board -- a nonprofit set up by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 to regulate auditors of public firms -- is unconstitutional because its directors are not appointed by the president but by the independent Securities and Exchange Commission.

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david.savage@latimes.com


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