Major companies and organizations in California should have some form of reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers, however, some struggle to implement them into their workplaces more than others. This is especially present in industries that require their employees to perform physically demanding jobs. Having a pregnant worker may interrupt their workflow for a brief period of time, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be unprepared to handle the situation.
Employers involved in emergency services such as law enforcement or firefighting often have difficulties with taking care of their pregnant employees. Their dangerous line of work means that pregnant employees that don’t receive the proper accommodations are at risk in more ways than one.
Deadly work environments
It’s common knowledge that firefighters and police officers have to keep themselves physically fit if they want to keep their positions. They have intense training regimens and daily workout routines to make sure their bodies are ready to save lives in various emergency situations.
Unfortunately, these workers face far more unpredictable hazards than most other industries. Whether they are trying to stop a criminal or save a civilian, they can’t always control how the person will respond to their actions.
These two factors show how important it is for pregnant workers to get proper accommodations so they don’t have to worry about how either one will affect the baby. They need a position that puts less stress on their bodies.
A lose-lose situation
Unfortunately, some expecting employees aren’t given the best options in these scenarios. Recently, a correctional officer in California lost her baby while breaking up a fight between inmates and fell during her seventh month of pregnancy.
She attributed one major cause of this tragedy to the options her employer gave her after requesting for reasonable accommodation. If she chose not to continue working until five weeks before the due date, she would get a demotion that takes away two-thirds of her paycheck, her seniority, her peace officer status and various benefits. Otherwise, she would have to take a leave of absence. She chose to stick with her current position since she couldn’t afford the other two options.
Given how California expects employers to accommodate pregnant workers, losing her seniority and so many necessary benefits that are crucial to her condition is unacceptable. The correctional officer was later awarded $1.7 million in damages.
Workers that have questions on how California companies should accommodate expecting employees should contact an employment law attorney to see if the options their employers are offering do not meet state requirements.