Jump to content


Photo

Pregnancy Hostile work environment


  • Please log in to reply
11 replies to this topic

#1 Mari8247

Mari8247

    New Member

  • Members
  • 5 posts

Posted 07 February 2013 - 11:59 PM

Okay,

I just have a question. For a pregnant worker, is it illegal to put them inside a control room with no access to a bathroom? The only bathroom available is 3 minutes down the hallway, and it takes 3-5 minutes for another person to actually come and relieve you from your duties in order to be able to use the bathroom? In that time theoretically, a pregnant person can pee on themselves, throw up due to morning sickness, and much much more. Is it illegal to do that when they have other open positions with bathrooms? Is it discrimination? Is it called being placed in a hostile work environment? Or is your employer able to do that to a pregnant woman with no recourse? Thanks!

#2 Tax_Counsel

Tax_Counsel

    Platinum Contributor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 16,854 posts

Posted 08 February 2013 - 04:30 AM

The basic rule that applies here is that the employer may not treat pregnant employees differently than other employees in similar circumstances. The employer doesn't have to make any special accommodations for the pregnancy unless the pregnancy has created complications that rise to the level of a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). So, it is possible that the employer's assignment of the pregnant emplooyee to the control room does not violate any laws. For more information, see the EEOC page on Pregnancy Discrimination.

#3 Mari8247

Mari8247

    New Member

  • Members
  • 5 posts

Posted 08 February 2013 - 05:43 AM

Okay, what if it is upgraded to a disability and the employee that is pregnant has been placed on light duty, due to a subchorionic hematoma during pregnancy? Thus making it a disability not to have access right away to a bathroom? Still having to wait to be relieved and walk another 3 minutes to the bathroom? PS, also the patient is hypertensive and is being watched for possible pre enclampsia.

#4 NewYorkEmploymentAttorney

NewYorkEmploymentAttorney

    Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 43 posts

Posted 08 February 2013 - 06:25 AM

This is a tough question, if the pregnant worker is experiencing a pregnancy related disability then the answer may be that they are due a reasonable accommodation. This could include diabetes or blood pressure conditions brought on by the pregnancy, etc.

That being said, if you are in New York State and you are simply experiencing a normal pregnancy then no I do not think that being 3 to 5 minutes from a bathroom would create a strong pregnancy discrimination claim. It might, however, be a failure in building codes.
Posted ImageThis answer does not constitute legal advice and you should contact an attorney to confirm or research further any statements made in this answer. Any statements of fact or law I have made in this answer pertain solely to matters in New York State and should not be relied upon in any way in any other jurisdiction. Additionally, we also encourage you to reach out to us at our website: www.QueensEmploymentAttorney.com or via Twitter (https://twitter.com/#!/EmployAttorney) or Facebook (http://www.facebook....RicottaandMarks) if you have follow up questions as we do not monitor questions after providing an initial answer.

#5 Fallen

Fallen

    Platinum Contributor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 58,946 posts

Posted 08 February 2013 - 08:26 AM

You aren't really explaining what's transpired in terms of what you've requested, what your normal duty is, whether you believe you were put in a place 6 minutes away from a bathroom (between time you assert it takes to get to one and to be relieved to use one), etc. Just because they have other open positions doesn't tell us that you're being discriminated against because of pregnancy or disability. Tell us more.

You'll have to do better in terms of explaining, but so far you haven't said anything to indicate you sought a reasonable accommodation (even if you want to argue disability) and also how they refused to accommodate. Use of the term "hostile work environment" may or may not apply, but it doesn't tell us what we'd need to know to offer intelligent feedback.

"In that time theoretically, a pregnant person can pee on themselves..."

Well, yes, but there are ways to address this that don't involve needing to use a bathroom (if the situation with bladder control is desire, that's why they make Poise -- I'm not being snarky here, but plenty of pregnant women use that product at a certain point). As for throwing up and morning sickness, that won't rise to the level of a disability issue.

I'll echo PG's advisory "warning" with a twist: (Many) legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here might not fully identify or explain the ramifications of your particular problem. I do not give legal advice as such (and such is impermissible here at any rate). Comments are based on personal knowledge and experience and legal info gleaned over a quarter century, and every state has differing laws on and avenues to address most topics.  If you need legal advice, you need to consult (and pay) a professional so that you may have someone to hold accountable.  Acting on personal and informational advice from a stranger on the internet is a bad idea -- at least not without your own thorough due dilience/research and confirmation as it applies to your situation.  :)


#6 FindLaw_Amir

FindLaw_Amir

    Platinum Contributor

  • Moderators
  • 62,345 posts

Posted 08 February 2013 - 10:42 AM

Pregnancy discrimination is a pervasive problem faced by many female employees. You may visit the Employment Law Center and read Pregnancy Discrimination as a good resource to learn more about your rights regarding this subject matter.
FindLaw's Legal Heads-Up! newsletter can provide you with the legal resources you need to make informed decisions when law touches aspects of your everyday life.

#7 Mari8247

Mari8247

    New Member

  • Members
  • 5 posts

Posted 08 February 2013 - 07:37 PM

Okay, for one, this is a prison setting. They put pregnant women in control rooms for their own protection away from inmates. But there our several control rooms through out the facility in which there are bathrooms in the control room. There is one control room that does not have a bathroom. It is 3 minutes away. You are UNABLE to leave this control room without proper relief or you will be terminated as far as employment goes. As you know being in a prison setting, being short staffed is a problem. If an emergency arises, all the staff will be called away, and a trip to the bathroom can easily take up to a half hour or longer if there is a riot or fight. By then, you have peed and threw up all over yourself. I believe restricting access to a bathroom for a woman with a pregnancy disability is against the law. I just want to make sure. The person has asked their Captain too place them elsewhere and got the response if you need a relief, we can get you a relief, but when the question was poised of why can't they just move them to another control room, the answer was there was no other space available when that just was not true. Some of the people there are best friends with some of the Captains and Lt's and would not inconvenience their best friends. End of Story! The patient does have pre-enclampsia, and suffered a subchorionic hematoma. Then there is the question of why this patient is not being placed in an area with immediate access to a bathroom. Part of it is favoritism. This cannot be proved, because no parties involved will admit it, but there are perfectly healthy females in control rooms that do not need to be there with bathrooms that could easily switch out with the person who does need the bathroom. Pregnancy is not a disability, but it is when you have pre enclampsia and other things going on, it becomes a disability. Is it right to force a pregnant disabled woman to pee and puke on herself restricting access to a bathroom? Then she has to go home to change. It's not about depends or poise's. It's the principal of the matter. I believe this creates a hostile work environment due to having to walk through the hallways with pee and puke all over you, which could be avoided if you just had access to a bathroom! How embarrassing for that pregnant woman. The emotional duress is enough to drive anyone over the edge. I have read over the EEOC guidelines dozens of times and I feel under those guidelines that I would be right in saying the law is being broken here. How embarrasing to be forced to wear depends? Poise's? Really? When all this could be avoided. It's not like they don't have other spaces available! Am I correct?

#8 Tax_Counsel

Tax_Counsel

    Platinum Contributor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 16,854 posts

Posted 08 February 2013 - 11:48 PM

If an emergency arises, all the staff will be called away, and a trip to the bathroom can easily take up to a half hour or longer if there is a riot or fight. By then, you have peed and threw up all over yourself. I believe restricting access to a bathroom for a woman with a pregnancy disability is against the law. I just want to make sure.


It's not against federal law to place a pregnant woman in a control room without a bathroom if other employees would be placed in that control room in similar circumstances who are not pregnant. Pregnancy is not a disabiliity, and the normal "morning sickness" and bladder urgency that goes with it is also not typically a disability. Note that other, non pregnant employees might also have trouble holding their bladder or throwing up if they had to wait 30 minutes for relief; it's not a problem unique to preganancy. Other complications from pregnancy might be a disability, however, and that may require the employer to provide a reasonable accommodation for that.

Unless state law specifically provides that an employer has to provide immediate bathroom access to pregnant employees, it's not illegal to assign her to that control room just because she's pregnant. Unless she can show a disability that requires immediate bathroom access, she may be left to devising alternatives to deal with the throwing up (like air sickness bags, etc) and the bladder urgency, like the undergarments made for that purpose. Pregnant women have had to deal with all kinds of circumstances where a bathroom isn't immediately available, so it's not like this is extremely unusual.

#9 Mari8247

Mari8247

    New Member

  • Members
  • 5 posts

Posted 09 February 2013 - 08:34 AM

Okay,
So that means only if the doctor gives them a note saying must have immediate access to a bathroom, and THEN they don't comply, it's against the laws, correct? That is the problem. There is so many loop holes in law. It's hard to get justice anymore. It's easier to make your follow woman suffer. Sometimes, I don't think men understand what it is like for a woman giving birth to a child. Women give birth to men and future women. If they only knew, they would be more compassionate about it. Provide a better work environment. Sad!

#10 Fallen

Fallen

    Platinum Contributor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 58,946 posts

Posted 11 February 2013 - 11:11 AM

A doctor's note doesn't have the force of law, no. (We can't know what any union contract may provide.)

If some dude was having a problem with his prostate and needed to use the bathroom and you can establish whomever assigns work spots would more than likely would assign him to a control room with a bathroom, that's more clear.

If you believe someone is deliberately fracking with you because you're a woman, then you file a complaint with the EEOC and state equivalent. |

"If they only knew, they would be more compassionate about it."

I wouldn't presume the audience is capable of any kind of compassion or emotional maturity; they possibly just don't care ... regardless of whether the supervisor is male or female. Females can be just as cold-hearted and may think "oh, just suck it up and wear Poise and carry a barf bag with you; you have to be tougher than the average girl to work in this environment, so if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen."

I'll echo PG's advisory "warning" with a twist: (Many) legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here might not fully identify or explain the ramifications of your particular problem. I do not give legal advice as such (and such is impermissible here at any rate). Comments are based on personal knowledge and experience and legal info gleaned over a quarter century, and every state has differing laws on and avenues to address most topics.  If you need legal advice, you need to consult (and pay) a professional so that you may have someone to hold accountable.  Acting on personal and informational advice from a stranger on the internet is a bad idea -- at least not without your own thorough due dilience/research and confirmation as it applies to your situation.  :)


#11 jrmhbrks

jrmhbrks

    New Member

  • Members
  • 2 posts

Posted 11 February 2013 - 12:16 PM

Remember written documentation is always key. Make sure that you are documenting time and date of each incident as well as the names of any witnesses.

Contact your agencies Equal Opportunity Officer or Disability Coordinator and request an accomodation in writing. Use the appropriate form to make your request. Have your doctor describe your disability and physical limitation. Make sure that he clearly indicates that your disability has resulted in incontenance and bladder control problems and that you are prevented from holding your bladder for ANY period of time. If your request for an accomodation is denied follow appeal procedures.

If you feel that you are being discriminated against due to your disability then seek EVERY avenue of recourse available to you all at the same time. File an internal complaint with Corrections. File a complaint with your State's Human Relations Commision. File a complaint with the federal EEOC office in your area. You can find the contact information on-line. However, you agency must also provide you with this information.

Internal complaint procedures are nice but they were put in place basically to protect the interest of the agency or private sector company for litigation. While you are waiting patiently for the resolution to an internal complaint, you may run out of time to file external complaints. Most complaints have a deadline for filing. For example, 90 days from the date of the last incident.

#12 Mari8247

Mari8247

    New Member

  • Members
  • 5 posts

Posted 14 February 2013 - 04:35 AM

Thank you all for your help. Upon reviewing the incident further, I realize now that the laws that SEEMED so clear and black and white, over the years have become corrupt, and the judges over the years made it to wear companies do not have to legally accommodate pregnant women. Perfect example, a lady cashier pregnant and all, working at a big company, ****, needed to carry a water bottle with her at all times to keep hydrated, she was told this is against company policy and was FIRED! No mercy! Pregnant ladies need money too and need to work. Well, I found out a bill last year was introduced to the Senate and House called the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act...

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ‘Pregnant Workers Fairness Act’.[list]

[/list]

SEC. 2. NONDISCRIMINATION WITH REGARD TO REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS RELATED TO PREGNANCY.

It shall be an unlawful employment practice for a covered entity to--[list]
[*]
(1) not make reasonable accommodations to the known limitations related to the pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions of a job applicant or employee, unless such covered entity can demonstrate that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the business of such covered entity;
(2) deny employment opportunities to a job applicant or employee, if such denial is based on the need of the covered entity to make reasonable accommodations to the known limitations related to the pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions of an employee or applicant;
(3) require a job applicant or employee affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions to accept an accommodation that such applicant or employee chooses not to accept; or
(4) require an employee to take leave under any leave law or policy of the covered entity if another reasonable accommodation can be provided to the known limitations related to the pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions of an employee.
[*]
This Act would help the pregnant population a lot if it went into law. It would make it easier for a pregnant lady to get a post with a bathroom, or have a water bottle to keep hydrated. I urge everyone to contact their Senators and ask that this act be put into LAW! Being pregnant is a temporary condition. It's not forever! A little accommodations will not harm employers. I know for one, I am a hard dedicated worker, even being pregnant doesn't slow me down unless there is a complication. Which unfortunately there is! Sometimes it happens. So, in the meantime, THANK YOU ALL for your replies. This has been very enlightening!
[list]

[/list]
[/list]

Edited by FindLaw_AHK, 14 February 2013 - 07:26 AM.
This post has been edited to remove personal or identifying information. -Moderator





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users