Pregnant workers: What you should know about accommodations

If you are pregnant, chances are that you have a lot on your mind. It is, after all, one of the most significant life events you can experience. Pregnancy can also take an incredible toll on a woman physically and mentally. With all this in mind, it should not be surprising that many pregnant women benefit from certain accommodations in the workplace.

Unfortunately, too many people fail to understand that in New York, a pregnant employee is entitled to the same reasonable accommodations as a disabled employee. This lack of understanding leaves moms-to-be suffering or without a job. Rather than suffer in silence or be in fear of losing your job, it can be helpful to know what types of accommodations you may be entitled to receive.

Generally speaking, a pregnant woman can be entitled to accommodations that make it easier and safer for her to work without creating an undue hardship for her employer. 

Some examples of reasonable accommodations include:

  • More bathroom breaks
  • Opportunities to sit instead of stand whenever appropriate
  • Temporary reassignment of strenuous tasks
  • Removal from hazardous environments
  • The option to work from home, if appropriate
  • Shorter shifts or otherwise modified work schedules
  • Transfer to a vacant position
  • Restrictions and allowances that are medically necessary

If an employer does not provide reasonable accommodations, or if he or she fires or otherwise penalizes an employee for requesting or needing the accommodation, then that employer can be held accountable for discriminating against a pregnant employee.

If you requested these or any other accommodations that you feel are reasonable and were denied or penalized by your employer, it may be wise to consider legal action. This could be considered a violation of your rights as an employee and you may be entitled to job reinstatement and financial damages.

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