What are my rights as a pregnant woman.

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What are my rights as a pregnant woman.

I am 22 weeks pregnant and work for a
fedex sub contractor that is trying to
make me leave work asap. I cannot afford
to be out of work that long since they
are not going to pay me maternity leave.

Asked on January 31, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

The issue is, can you do the core functions of your job or not? An employer is required to make "reasonable accommodations" to a pregnant employee (since for this purpose, pregnancy is treated like a disability) to let her do the job. A reasonable accomodation is a change in rules or procedures, or provision of some assistive device, that is not too expensive or disruptive for the employer--but you must still be able to do your job's important functions.
So, say that you have no or minimal restrictions--they can't make you take leave, since that would be disability-based discrimination.
Say that you need minor adjustments--maybe you main job is billing but you sometimes help out in warehousing or shipping. Since most of your job (billing) doesn't involve lifting, the could "reasonably accommodate" you by letting you not do any lifting, if you were under a lifting restriction. You'd still be doing the core (billing) of your job, so they could not force you out.
But say that you work in shipping and that a core part of you job is lifting, loading, carrying, etc. boxes for delivery, and that many of them are more than 10 lbs. If you are under a lifting restriction of not lifting more than 10 lbs, you could not do your job. If you can't do your job, they don't have to keep you on or pay you for not working. The law does not make employers employee people who cannot do their jobs.
So the answer to what they can and cannot do, or as to what your rights are, depends on whether you can or cannot do the main or core functions of your job.
If you believe that you can do you job and they are trying to improperly force you out, contact the federal EEOC about filing a complaint.


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