Can a employer fire a pregnant woman who is put on restrictions at work?

Not able to lift over 20pounds for
reminder of pregnancy.

Asked on October 25, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If the important functions of her job require lifting over 20 lbs--for example, she works in a warehouse or loading capacity and must lift inventory over 20 lbs; she is a home health aide who has to be able to help move patients; etc.--then she may be terminated. While an employer must be able to make "reasonable accommodations" to an employee's medical conditions, to help her do the job, in the final analysis, she *must* be able to do her job. If she cannot, the employer may suspend or even terminate her; the law does not make employers retain employees who cannot do their jobs.
If her job can be done without lifting more than 20 lbs--for example, she is data entry or customer service who may occasionally help change the office water cooler bottle, but lifting heavy things is not part of her actual resonsibilities--than she may not be terminated, and terminating her when she can do her job would be illegal discrimination. If this occurs, she should contact the federal EEOC about possibly filing a claim.

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