Can my employer demote me while I’m pregnant or do they still have to pay me the same?

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Can my employer demote me while I’m pregnant or do they still have to pay me the same?

I am 4 months pregnant and work for a company that owns a bar ;I’ve worked in the bar for almost 2 years. I know they can’t fire me just for being pregnant but can they put me in another position that pays less just because I am pregnant? I can still do my job but I’m worried that they think I can’t because my needs are different (sitting down more often, pee breaks, mood swings). If I refuse to take the lesser paying job can they fire me or do they have to pay me the same in that temp position?

Asked on January 19, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

This is a factual question. You say, for example, that you have to sit down more often, take more breaks, and are having mood swings. If these factors prevent you from effectively doing  your job--for example, you are  a waitress or bar tender, and sitting down and taking breaks more frequently, or having mood swings which effect customer interaction, mean that you can't do the job properly--then they are entitled to offer you a different position; and if that position pays less (i.e. it would pay less for anyone who held it, not just a pregnant woman), the that would likely be legal. While an employer cannot discriminate against a pregnant woman, it also does not need to retain her in or pay her for a position she cannot actually do.

On the other hand, if you are right and you can do your job, and the factors you describe do not  have any material or significant effect on your doing it, then they would seem to have to leave you in your current position.

Thus, the issue is whether, objectively speaking, you are able to do the current position or not.


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