What constitutes pregnancy discrimination?

I am 32 weeks pregnant. My doctor wrote a note stating that rather than my employer’s required 45 hours per week for managers under the manager contract, I need to be cut to 40 hours per week for the last 8 weeks of my pregnancy. My employer informed me that I will lose all manager pay and benefits for no longer working the required 45 hours even though I will still be fulfilling my duties as a store manager. Is this discrimination?

Asked on February 16, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It comes down to whether you would in fact be fulfilling *all* your managerial duties if you cut back by 5 hours per week or not. If the extra 5 hours are critical in some way--if by not having you work them, for example, there would several hours a week during which there is no manager in the store or employees would be unsupervised; or if it would create a problem with, say, opening up and locking up the store--then this is not discrimination. That would be because if the 5 hours does impact on your abilty to do your duties, the employer is not required to accommodate you: reasonable disability- or pregnancy-related accommodations are changes that don't cost too much, are not too disruptive, and which let the employee do her job--all the elements of her job.
On the other hand if you are right and you could cut back the five hours without it impacting your managerial responsibilities, then a failure to accommodate you may be pregnancy-related discrimation and you may have a legal claim. You are advised to discuss the situation in more detail with an employment law attorney to evaluate this issue and what a case, if you have one, might be worth.


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