The doctors overseeing a woman’s pregnancy will often recommend certain restrictions regarding behavior and diet for her safety and the well-being of her unborn child. Many of those restrictions may apply to her employment.
Companies should seek to accommodate pregnant workers whenever possible to help them continue working. The three accommodations below are all reasonable ways to help a pregnant worker stay on the job.
One of the most common limitations imposed during pregnancy is a rule about heavy lifting, particularly later in pregnancy. Women who work in factory settings or even offices may no longer be capable of handling heavy items later in pregnancy. Employers should be able to adjust an individual’s job responsibilities temporarily until they heal after the birth of a child.
Remote work requests
Workers in a variety of different fields can often do most or all of their job responsibilities from a remote location. When a woman requires bed rest or must maintain a very unusual schedule because of pregnancy symptoms, employers can often allow her to work remotely until after she returns from maternity leave without that accommodation causing damage to the company.
Women in the early stages of pregnancy may need to eat quite frequently to stave off morning sickness and keep their blood sugar stable. Women later in pregnancy may need frequent bathroom breaks or numerous small meals because they can no longer eat a sizable amount at one time. Employers should be able to accommodate scheduling changes, including the need for more bathroom breaks, when a woman requires such support during pregnancy.
Refusing to accommodate basic needs during pregnancy is one of many ways that employers discriminate against pregnant workers. Learning more about the rights of pregnant workers can help women stand up for themselves when their employers do not treat them appropriately.