Pregnancy Discrimination: Can Pregnant Employees Request for Accommodation at Work?

During pregnancy or postpartum, you may experience no or very few limitations. However, at some points during your pregnancy or recovery, you may be limited in your ability to perform some tasks like heavy lifting, running, or standing for a long time, or climbing ladders. In fact, you may develop complications because of your pregnancy or childbirth like back impairment, diabetes, high blood pressure, and others. Because of this, you may require job accommodations during and after your pregnancy. 

Pregnancy discrimination in the workplace can happen when an employer unreasonable refuses to give reasonable accommodation to a pregnant worker. If you are in this situation, you should contact an Austin Employment Discrimination Lawyer to know your rights and legal options to move forward. 

Should You be Given Light Duty?

Under federal law, your employer should treat you the same as other workers who are similar in their ability to work, with respect to light duty. If your employer offers light duty to other employees and cannot justify denying it to you may be guilty of discrimination. Light duty may be an appropriate reasonable accommodation for women with pregnancy-related disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA. 

Can Your Boss Require You to Take Leave?

Your employer may not force you to take leave because you are pregnant, as long as you can perform your job duties. If you are limited in performing your duties and is entitled to an accommodation under the PDA and ADA, your employer may have to provide you with reasonable accommodation to help you perform your duties. If your employer requires you to take leave against your wishes, they violate the PDA even if they think they act in your best interest. If you have been absent from work because of pregnancy-related conditions and recovers, your employer cannot force you to remain on leave or prohibit you from returning to work for a particular length of time after you give birth. 

Available Accommodation for Pregnant Women

Some pregnant women may develop limitations during and after their pregnancy. The degree of limitation varies by individual. Also, it is important to note that not all pregnant women need accommodations to perform their jobs. When considering whether or not you need accommodation at work, you should consider the limitations you are experiencing, how such limitations impact you and the job performance of your coworkers, and the problematic job tasks that result from these limitations. Also, think about the available accommodations that can eradicate these issues and if your boss has been using all possible resources to determine accommodations.