[Synopsis: A pregnant worker is taken off the job, but the EEOC says civil rights trump safety.]
Safety on the job should always be a top priority. Though in some cases our vigilance can backfire on us.
According to Business and Legal Resources (BLR), a North Carolina moving company will have to pay a fine and take steps to prevent discrimination against pregnant employees. Why? Because the company considered it unsafe for a female packer to perform her duties while pregnant.
In a statement by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) we hear that the employee in question was told by her doctor that it was safe for her to continue working as a packer, but a company executive made the decision to take her off the job “because of her size,” further stating, apparently, that she “looked terrible.”
Rude opinions aside, the executive was acting outside the law when he took the employee off the job. They may have been acting in the pregnant employee’s best interests – and perhaps in the interests of those around her – but the EEOC successfully argued that the decision violated certain pregnancy-related provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
This one incident, of course, is only the tip of the employment law iceberg. Lucky for us BLR offers website links to several safety-related handbooks, downloads and resources. Dig in and poke around to learn more about what to do when ‘safe’ and ‘legal’ clash.
And please. “Terrible?” Not shaving, not showering, not doing laundry, maybe. Being pregnant does not look terrible.