Pregnant workers likely have a tough road when it comes to maintaining a job. Depending on the complications that come with a pregnancy, they may be subject to restrictions that limit what they may be able to do on the job. Under California law, employers are required to adhere to medical restrictions and grant temporary accommodations for pregnant workers.
While employers may have the best intentions, they sometimes do not follow the rules, and their ignorance harms employees. This may have been the case with a pregnant woman who was forced to take unpaid leave by a major retailer against her will.
The woman, who was an employee at Pier 1 Imports, claims that she was required to take unpaid time off instead of being granted an accommodation that would have allowed her to continue working with light duty restrictions. Essentially, the company reportedly has a policy where light duty restrictions are capped at eight weeks. The woman claims that the company’s policy of placing a ceiling on such restrictions violates California law.
She has since initiated a lawsuit, which may be later certified as a class action that will include other similarly situated pregnant women. The suit essentially begs the question of whether it is legal to require women to take leave when they have not asked for it; especially when a reasonable accommodation would have sufficed.
For women who are confronted with these situations, it is helpful to speak with an experienced employment law firm so that they understand their rights and options.
Source: HuffingtonPost.com “Pregnant worker says Pier 1 Imports forced to take unpaid leave,” Dave Jamieson, April 16, 2014