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Johnson Controls

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In 1982, Johnson Controls enacted what it called a "fetal protection policy", which denied women the right to work on the battery production line because of the potential harm to a fetus they might conceive. Women were allowed to work on the production line only if they could prove that ". . .  their inability to bear children had been medically documented. " In April 1984, the United Automobile Workers sued Johnson Controls on behalf of three employees. These employees were Mary Craig, who had chosen to be sterilized to avoid losing her job, Elsie Nason, a 50-year-old divorcee, who had suffered a loss of compensation when she was transferred from a high paying job that exposed her to lead, and Donald Penney, who had been denied a request for a leave of absence for the purpose of lowering his blood lead levels because he intended to become a father. The case was argued before the Supreme Court of the United States on October 10, 1990 and was decided on March 20, 1991. The Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. This was a landmark ruling because it affirmed that ". . .  it is no more appropriate for the courts than it is for individual employers to decide whether a woman's reproductive role is more important to herself and her family than her economic role. "

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