General Question

janjan's avatar

Can employer send you home for being pregnant?

Asked by janjan (1points) March 12th, 2008

I work in a jail and recently asked to go light duty so I would not be around inmates. I was told not to come back to work because they had to review it and make a decision. Is this legal????

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7 Answers

cwilbur's avatar

In the United States, they can’t fire you for it, but they may be able to treat it as a short-term disability and send you home while paying you less.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Depends what you do. If you work in the radiology department of a hospital then they would be negligent if they didn’t. Like wise exposure to many chemicals can cause damage to the developing foetus.
Another option may be relocating you to another area away from hazard.

robmandu's avatar

Just guessing, but if your work puts your pregnant self in close proximity with known violent types, then yah, I’d say your employer (or its legal dept) is gonna believe they’re liable for your baby’s safety should anything happen.

@cwilbur, nailed it.

Lightlyseared's avatar

In your case in the prison there is a health and safety issue for example being attacked may result in miscarriage for example. I imagine that your employer has a duty to conduct a risk assessment. It does not necessarily mean you are be singled out for getting pregnant, meerly that your employer is taking seriously it’s responsibility to protect both you and your unborn child. Still you could always talk to your union (if you have one) and are concerned.

srmorgan's avatar

You need to speak to the Department of Labor in the State where you live because different states MAY have different regulations particularly involving dangerous occupations.
Civil service rules in your state may also affect your rights and the employer’s obligations
Since you work in a prison, aren’t you covered by a collective bargaining agreement? It was my impression that most State Prisons were unionized, but I could be wrong..
If so, speak to your shop steward or union delegate about this,

Again, because of the nature of your job and environment there may be specific rules affecting your situation.

@lightlyseared—there was a landmark case several years ago involving a battery maker in Wisconsin. Their manufacturing process involved solvents, heavy metals, acids, other toxic stuff and yet they were sued by a pregnant employee who was either moved out of that department because of her pregnancy or because she had applied to work in that department because of premium pay. The manufacturer lost on grounds of discrimation.

I can’t cite the case, This is just from my fragile memory


kevbo's avatar

I think they are supposed to let you do light duty if it’s available, although the details probably should have been worked out ahead of time, so that it’s not suddenly an issue that requires bureaucratic approval. Talk to your HR rep, and if you feel like you’re getting the shaft, talk to the EEOC.

BigDom's avatar

If you were to have a miscarrige due to something that happened at work, it would leave a large door open for a significant lawsuit. Most employers have a maternity clause. Usually by the start of the third trimester and sometimes up to six months after birth you should be able to stay at home while recieving pay. Regardless, you cannot be fired due to the pregnancy. If they do, they would be breaking federal laws.

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