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Is sitting a reasonable accommodation for pregnant workers?

On Behalf of | Feb 27, 2023 | Workplace Harassment

Being pregnant can be an exciting and stressful experience, as you prepare to welcome a new child into your family. Your company, though, might view your pregnancy as an inconvenience. Indeed, your pregnancy may represent staffing issues, production problems and potentially lost income.

According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, there are roughly 2.8 million pregnant women in the workforce every single year. As a result, you might think employers would know how to treat pregnant employees fairly. Regrettably, though, that is not always the case.

Protections for pregnant workers

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which is a federal law from 1978, protects employees from pregnancy-related discrimination. Pregnant workers also have meaningful protections under the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act. Among other things, these laws require most employers to make reasonable accommodations available to workers during their pregnancies.

Reasonable accommodations

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it can be dangerous for pregnant workers to spend too much time on their feet. Specifically, excessive standing increases a person’s chances of miscarrying and delivering pre-term. Given these potentially catastrophic consequences, it is usually reasonable for employers to allow pregnant women to sit during their shifts at work.

While an employer might be able to argue that sitting is not reasonable, most workers can sit without adversely affecting their employers. Ultimately, if your employer denies your request to sit during some of your workdays while you are pregnant, you might have grounds to file a discrimination complaint.

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