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Do I have a discrimination case? Georgia

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  • Do I have a discrimination case? Georgia

    I am currently 33 weeks pregnant and have been on involuntary leave from my job since the beginning of May. I had some complications with my pregnancy in April that caused me to be out for roughly 2 weeks as I had some tests run. I provided my employer with doctors' notes detailing their recommendations and the complications and stayed in touch with my employer via email to update them as frequently as possible during this time. I was finally cleared to return and had notes from my doctors to this effect. However, my employer stated that until I could provide a note clearing me to lift 50+ pounds, they could not put me back on the schedule.

    My doctors' recommendations included working a part time schedule until the baby is born as well as not lifting more than 25 pounds for the duration of the pregnancy. I continued to receive emails from my employer stating that 50 pounds is the minimum required amount of weight in order to be placed on the schedule. However, my work agreement states that 50 pounds is the maximum amount and none of my other duties would be affected by the pregnancy. In essence, I am willing and able to perform the majority of the duties of my job and it is a rare instance that I would be lifting anything over even 20 pounds in my position.

    I also received an email with several attachments, including two waivers allowing my employer to contact my doctors to obtain more detailed information regarding their recommendations, both of which included a clause allowing them access to my medical records if need be. I've provided them with all the documentation they've requested and even had the doctors fax over more detailed notes in lieu of signing these waivers since it appeared that my employer was only looking for more of an explanation of said recommendations.

    My issue is this: A co-worker who works in my same position was given a part-time schedule with weight-lifting restrictions when she had pregnancy-related complications just a few months earlier without having to provide all of this documentation or being placed on involuntary leave. She has said she will support me if I have a case. I also don't know if their inconsistency in their requirements for my job description has any bearing on this either. Based on this information, have I been discriminated against? I have not been to work since the end of April and as such I have not received any pay, despite my willingness and documented ability to work. Thank you.

  • #2
    To be quite honest with you, the fact that your co-worker was treated differently during her pregnancy hurts, rather than helps, a discrimination claim for you. It indicates that the pregnancy is not the reason for the discrepancy, but something else. And the law does not say that all employees must be treated identically - only that differences in treatment cannot be because of a characteristic protected by law, such as pregnancy.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    • #3
      I don't see anything illegal taking place. Your employer is not obligated to accommodate your job restrictions, whether due to pregnancy or any other reason. The fact that they were able to accommodate your co-worker does not obligate them to accommodate you.

      Perhaps having accommodated your co-worker, they cannot now accommodate you. Perhaps business conditions have changed. Perhaps they just don't want to - which is perfectly legal as long as they would do the same if you had the same restrictions for non-pregnancy reasons.

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      • #4
        Based on what you posted, agree, there is nothing illegal being done by your
        employer. Sorry.
        Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

        Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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