Can I be limited to how much food and water I can bring into work at 30 weeks pregnant?

I am a corrections nurse and we got a new sheriff in January who is changing all of the rules As of yesterday we are no longer allowed to bring clear cups or plastic containers for food on the unit, only what we could fit in our county issued clear bags which are literally cosmetic bags that are 6 in long, 6 in tall, 2 in wide. Today they tried to tell me I couldn’t bring two small bottles of water in because they wouldn’t fit in my bag because I have snacks in there, and a few pens after arguing with security staff the Lt. finally said I could bring them in today but next time they have to fit in my bag or I will have to buy from the vending machine which 90 of the time is sold out of water. So pretty much I feel like they’re expecting me to choose between water and food for the day. Is this breaking some type of work law? I mean I’m 30 weeks pregnant and I don’t think it’s right for them to try and tell me I can’t bring any food or drinks in that won’t fit in this tiny bag What are my legal options?

Asked on July 16, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

It is legal for them to do this. First, if you were not pregnant, there is no doubt but they can do this: as a general matter, an employer has essentially total control over what may be brought into the work place. Since you are pregnant the employer must make "reasonable accommodations" to your medical needs, including for food or hydration. In many cases, if you had a doctor's note about your need for food or drink, they'd have to let you bring food and drink. However, a reasonable accommodation can be overridden by legitimate "business" needs, including security related. If, as is logically the case, given who you work for and what you do ("corrections nurse"), the restrictions are related to security (e.g. preventing dangerous items or contraband from coming in), they can enforce these restrictions against you.


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