If I’m pregnant, can I be fireddue toweight restrictions?

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If I’m pregnant, can I be fireddue toweight restrictions?

I am 5 months pregnant and work as a waitress. I have no problem performing my job duties.

Asked on December 16, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The general rule is that you can not be discriminated upon due to pregnancy.  That is the law.  There is something known as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act that prohibits your boss from treating you differently once you announce that you are pregnant.  But what is this about weight restrictions?  Were these restrictions placed upon you for being hired or are they being hoisted upon you now that you have announced your pregnancy?  I think that you should seek counsel from an attorney in your area on the matter.  It is difficult in this situation to be able to discuss the matter fully.  Face to face would be better. Good luck - with everything.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You probably cannnot be fired for violating weight restrictions for being pregnant, since employers may not discriminate against pregnant women. If the weight restriction has some valid business ground (e.g. you're working for a restaurant or club with certain expectations for  how waitresses look, rather than the local diner; or if based on a greater weight--or being pregnant, which does restrict acitivity in some ways--in some way you could not physically do the job), it may be the case that the employer could reasonably either transfer you (even if only temporarily) to a non-waitressing position if they have one, or possibly require you to take an unpaid leave. The employer is allowed to weight legitimate business considerations in deploying staff and accomodating pregnant staff, and if there is a valid reason you can't do your waitressing job, they don't have to pay you to not be able to work, though again, it's doubtful they could permanently fire you.


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