Several pregnancy discrimination lawsuits stem from industries that challenge female employees physically. Police officers and factory workers cannot perform the same tasks they usually can when they are expecting, so employers should attempt to accommodate their needs in some fashion during this difficult period.
However, certain jobs can challenge a pregnant worker due to inactivity. Even though these employees are encouraged by their doctors to rest and take it easy, they still need to move every once in a while to keep their bodies in shape and not risk developing cardiovascular diseases. Because of this, some employers end up mistreating pregnant employees because they don’t consider the consequences of inactivity as much as the more physically active tasks. A recent lawsuit against one of the more popular transit agencies in California hints that these misunderstandings continue today.
In the last few months, four bus drivers for AC Transit filed a lawsuit against their employers for pregnancy discrimination. The primary complaints against the public transit agencies was that they made little to no effort to accommodate the workers, which forced the women to take early unpaid leaves of absence before their scheduled maternity leaves. Some of them lost crucial health care in the process, while others risked losing their jobs or ended up demoted.
One of the primary complaints for the bus drivers was their constant exposure to carbon monoxide fumes. Most of them brought doctor’s notes warning the agency of the risks, but their requests for accommodations were rejected. While the agency claims to have private lactation rooms on their facilities, one of the workers claimed she couldn’t get a shift that would fit with her breastfeeding schedule, forcing her husband to come with their child during her breaks.
Other physical problems
Aside from the fumes and mental stress of the job, many bus drivers suffer from sedentary behavior. They typically sit around three hours longer than the average desk worker and risk becoming obese or developing a heart disease. Unlike desk workers, they don’t have as many opportunities to stand up and walk around if they want to. One of the workers in the lawsuit even fell asleep behind the wheel from how much her job was taking a toll on her body during the latter months of her pregnancy.
In a state like California, it’s even more dangerous. It is one of the largest states in the country with enough traffic to rival New York around certain parts. Not giving pregnant workers the accommodations they deserve not only puts them at risk, but also potential passengers when the job becomes too much for the expecting mothers to handle.
Workers that believe that their employers are violating California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act should contact an employment law attorney as soon as they can. Companies must make an effort to provide proper accommodations to avoid putting workers and their future children at risk.