No employer can bar you from working during your pregnancy. As a pregnant individual, you have the right to seek work, start a new job, and work for as long as you are comfortable working before your due date.
In the time between conception and your child’s birth, your body will change in new, often challenging ways. When these bodily changes and outside needs related to your pregnancy make it difficult to continue performing your standard job duties, you can ask your supervisor to make changes to your schedule, work environment, or duties. As long as these accommodations do not put an undue burden on the company or your colleagues, you are entitled to receive them. Failure to make these accommodations is pregnancy discrimination.
Pregnant women also frequently experience symptoms like severe nausea that make it difficult to get to work and be productive for a full workday. For days like this, a woman may ask for time off or the opportunity to telecommute. Under federal law, pregnancy must be treated like any other temporary disability.
A MORE COMFORTABLE WORK ENVIRONMENT
Pregnancy can be uncomfortable. A pregnant woman can experience water retention, which can cause her feet and other extremities to swell, and become fatigued easily. For an employee who spends the bulk of her day standing, providing a chair is a reasonable accommodation.
Another accommodation a pregnant woman may seek is a deviation from the dress code to permit her to wear comfortable shoes and clothing.
CHANGES TO YOUR JOB DUTIES
Employees in jobs that require frequent movement, climbing on ladders, and carrying objects may be permitted to take regular breaks or perform desk-based work during their pregnancies. They may also be assigned to less physically demanding shifts.
In a job where employees work with toxic substances, a pregnant woman may be excused from this work to protect her health and her fetus’ health.
In 2010, the Break Time for Nursing Mothers law went into effect. This federal law created new requirements for employers to protect nursing mothers’ right to privately pump their breasts when needed. All employers, regardless of size, are required to comply with this law. It granted nursing mothers the following rights in the workplace:
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO A PRIVATE PLACE TO PUMP
The law specifies that employers must provide nursing mothers with a private place to pump. It cannot be a bathroom. Employers are not required to create areas exclusively for breast pumping, but they must make private spaces, like spare offices or conference rooms, available when nursing mothers need to pump. These spaces must have solid walls and doors that shut completely.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO A REASONABLE AMOUNT OF TIME TO PUMP
Under the law, employers must provide nursing mothers with reasonable amounts of break time to pump. Employers are not required to pay employees for these breaks unless they typically provide paid breaks, in which case nursing mothers are entitled to use their paid break time to pump. A reasonable amount of pumping time can vary from woman to woman. A reasonable pumping break should allow the woman time to gather her pumping supplies, get to the private pumping area, pump, and then clean up and return to her workspace.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO A WORKPLACE FREE FROM HARASSMENT AND DISCRIMINATION
Discrimination against a woman for being pregnant or nursing her baby is sex discrimination. Nursing mothers have the right to work without being subjected to invasive questions and crude remarks about their breasts or any other parts of their bodies or aspects of their pregnancies. New mothers also have the right to expect the same advancement and professional development opportunities as their colleagues and the right to reasonable accommodations in their babies’ first months, such as flexible scheduling that makes it possible for them to attend doctor appointments and arrange childcare for their babies.
OUR EXPERIENCED STAFFING AGENCY HELPS NEW MOTHERS FIND EMPLOYMENT
If you are searching for a new job, let our team of staffing specialists at Stand-by Personnel help you with your search. We are an experienced Oklahoma staffing agency that works with individuals from all backgrounds, parents and non-parents alike, to help them secure fulfilling employment that fits their skills.