Being pregnant is stressful enough without having to choose between your health and your job.
If you are pregnant, you should know your rights regarding your health and safety on the job. For instance, if you require accommodation, you should know whether your employer is required to provide it.
What does the law require?
Federal and Michigan laws prohibit discrimination against pregnant workers. These rules include requiring employers to provide the same type of accommodations for a pregnant worker that they would make available for other temporarily disabled workers.
Pregnancy takes physical and emotional tolls on women; protecting themselves and their unborn children can require temporary adjustments. Therefore, it is not uncommon for pregnant workers to request adjustments to make their jobs easier or safer.
As long as an accommodation is reasonable, employers should generally provide it. However, not all accommodations are reasonable.
Reasonable versus unreasonable accommodations
Some standard accommodations that can help pregnant workers on the job include:
- Having more frequent breaks to get a snack or use the restroom
- Being allowed to sit instead of stand
- Working in lighter duty capacities
- Relocating to a safer environment
- Modified work schedule
- Remote work opportunities
Employers will typically need to provide these reasonable requirements.
However, employers are generally within their rights to deny overly expensive, disruptive or complicated requests. Some examples of these accommodations include:
- Hiring additional workers
- Displacing other workers
- Removing the person’s essential job functions
- Putting more work on other workers
Of course, every accommodation request is different and must be reviewed on an individual basis based on the surrounding circumstances. However, these examples of adjustments may be too complicated or costly to implement giving employers the ability to deny them.
Exploring all your options
Pregnant employees should be able to work with their employers to find suitable solutions regarding accommodations. Even if a requested solution is not feasible, alternatives may present less of a hardship on employers while also protecting pregnant workers.
If conflicts arise during this process or you feel like your employer has discriminated against you by denying accommodations or refusing to even discuss possible accommodations, legal action may be an option worth pursuing. Please make sure to seek legal consultation early on in the process to receive more individualized advice. The attorneys at Miller Cohen P.L.C. would be happy to help and provide free telephone consultations. Just call (313) 964-4454.