Can an employer prevent me from returning to work until I submit a doctor’s note stating it is safe for me to work through my pregnancy?

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Can an employer prevent me from returning to work until I submit a doctor’s note stating it is safe for me to work through my pregnancy?

I work in a laboratory through a staffing agency. We are only offered sick time or disability coverage through a third-party company. The staffing agency has over 50 local employees. The company that owns and operates the laboratory I work in has already cleared several of their pregnant employees to continue work with no restrictions.

Asked on February 2, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

An employer may not discriminate against a women due to pregnancy. However, whether a given action is or is not discrimiantion depends on the facts. Is there either 1) any reason to think that your specific job/position may be dangerous for a pregnant women (e.g. due you handle chemicals or medications, or work with radiation, which could potentially affect your fetus?); or 2) have you given an indication that your preganancy is difficult or high risk in any way? If the answer to either 1) or 2) is yes, then they would seem to be able to require this note. If the answer to both is no, then this may be illegal discrimination or harassment, and you may wish to consider consulting with an employment law attorney.


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