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Is it illegal to deny a pregnant employee’s request for light duty assignments?

Employer policies that provide light-duty assignments only to employees with work related injuries do not necessarily violate the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.  The employer is not required to offer light duty assignments to make it easier for pregnant women to work.  The courts allow an employer to make a distinction between giving a light duty assignment to an employee who, for example, needs a weight lifting restriction after an on the job injury and not allowing a similar weight restriction for an employee who becomes pregnant.   A pregnant worker who is subject to a temporary lifting restriction is not similar to an employee injured on the job because her inability to work does not arise from a work related accident.  The employer’s policy is gender neutral if it offers light duty to all employees, male and female, who are injured on the job.

Pamela A. Smith
Law Office of Pamela A. Smith
233 Needham Street, Suite 540
Newton, MA 02464


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