What to do if I’m pregnant and have lifting restrictions from my doctor but my employer is refusing to let me work?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What to do if I’m pregnant and have lifting restrictions from my doctor but my employer is refusing to let me work?

I work as an RN so lifting patients and standing for long periods of time is part of my job. When I became pregnant my doctor put me on lifting and standing restrictions. My workplace told me I couldn’t work and refused to accommodate me. After 90 days they terminated me, even though I did not fill out any FMLA paperwork. I contacted them and now they told me I have to send in FMLA paperwork and take medical leave they rescinded the terminations because they were

obviously wrong in doing so, they did not even tell me about the paperwork. I do not want to take medical leave, as I am able to work with either accommodations or in a different position in the hospital. I have asked them so many questions the HR department and they never answer any of them. For reference I am not part of a nurse’s union. Do I have to fill out FMLA paper work, even though my condition is not serious, and I am still able to work a normal-type job? Any other advice as to what I should do?

Asked on February 13, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The issue is NOT whether you can "work a normal-type job" or a "different position in the hospital." You write that "lifting patients and standing for long periods is part of my job." You have to be able to do *your* normal job--the one you are employed to do; the employer does NOT have to give you a different job or duties. A "reasonable accommodation" is a change that lets you do the core or important functions of *your* job: an example would be letting a cashier, who normally stands, have a chair or stool, since he/she can do his/her job perfectly adequately while sitting, so the accommodation is reasonable. But if your job necessarily involves lifting patients and you cannot, then you cannot do your job, and your employer does not need to accommodate you or let you work--though you can take FMLA leave (and/or use any PTO you have).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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