Is it discrimination to ask a certified nurse’s aide to leave because she is pregnant?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is it discrimination to ask a certified nurse’s aide to leave because she is pregnant?

My daughter is a CNA and started working for a company in the memory center. Soon after she found out that she was pregnant. The memory center has patients that require full assistance, so heavy lifting. Also, she has been hit in the abdomen by confused patients in the center. She asked for a transfer and they told her she would have to change to PRN and it was approved not only by the scheduler but also by the person that laid her off today over the phone. She was told that she was risking the patients because she wasnt trained in that area and as an RN, I can tell you going from memory center to assisted living is a step down and requires less training. I feel she was

essentially laid off due to her being pregnant.

Asked on May 2, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Oklahoma


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

While an employer may not terminate you simply because you are pregnant, they may do so (or in lieu of terminating you, transfer you or change your job) if either the following circumstances exist:
1) You cannot do a critical or important part of the job: employees are hired and paid to do certain jobs, and while an employer may have to let them out of less important aspects of work as a "reasonable accommodation" to being pregnant, if the employee cannot do what is necessary for the job, they can be terminated or transferred. If due to her pregnancy, she cannot lift (or cannot safely lift; see below) patients or provide physical support to them, they can let her go from that position.
2) The employer does not need to make itself vulnerable to a lawsuit or litigation, so if the employee has a condition which means she (or her baby) is at risk from work, they can let her go from that job. You write that she has been hit in the abdomen: exposing a pregnant women to that, with the risk of miscarriage, is not something the employer has to do, since they could be sued for her injuries or loss of her baby.

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 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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