We Protect Workers

Can your employer tell you to stop working due to pregnancy?

If you are pregnant and continue to work, something you should know is that your employer cannot compel you to stop working or take leave due to that fact unless being pregnant hinders your ability to do your job.

This is important to know, especially because most women won’t have access to paid maternity leave. Even if you do, you may want to save some of that leave for after your child’s birth instead of taking it beforehand.

When can an employer ask you to stop working?

There may be times when the employer could ask you to stop working. For example, if you are supposed to be on bed rest, then your employer may argue that allowing you to work would be dangerous and against your best interests.

Even if you do need to take leave as a result of a pregnancy-related condition, your employer can’t stop you from returning to work before your child’s birth if that condition resolved.

The key is to remember that the “ability to do your job” is the defining factor. If you can do your job, even if it’s with reasonable accommodations, then your employer should not try to control if you work or not.

Can your employer limit the type of work you do while pregnant?

Not usually. The employer has to treat you like any other employee and may not take prejudiced actions against you. However, if the employer requires workers to lift 30 pounds and you’re restricted to 15, they may ask you to take on another role.

If you’re concerned about pregnancy discrimination, remember that you need to be treated the same as other employees. If you’re being singled out, you may have a claim.