Colorado Springs, CO asked in Civil Rights, Employment Discrimination and Employment Law for Colorado

Q: Am I experiencing pregnancy discrimination when being forced to take a 60k pay cut or immediately take FMLA?

I am currently 6.5 months pregnant, and have been granted an accommodation by my workplace to complete my work remotely for the duration of my pregnancy. In January, during my first trimester, I started to experience severe motion sickness that limited my ability to complete my 45 minute drive to and from work. At that time, HR and my supervisor told me that they "did not foresee" any issues with my working remotely for the duration of my pregnancy and/or until the motion sickness had resolved.

Over the past month, my place of work has seen a large amount of employee turnover. Seemingly as a result of this issue, my work called me to offer an ultimatum last week. The options that they offered me are as follows:

1. Come back to work in-person with no accommodations immediately

2. Take another virtual job with the company, but accept a 60k annual pay decrease

3. Take FMLA starting immediately for the duration of my pregnancy

Is this legal?

1 Lawyer Answer
Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert
  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Columbus, OH

A: Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, people with disabilities (including pregnancy and related side effects) are permitted to request reasonable accommodations to enable them to perform their jobs while honoring their restrictions. However, the accommodation must be reasonable, and the employer can refuse to grant an accommodation if they can show it would place an undue hardship on the business. So, the answer to your question will depend on why your employer is asking you to make this change. Can you perform 100% of your job from a remote location? Are some of your job duties changing? Are the new employees only able to perform your role, while you are able to perform multiple different roles? If there is another option that would enable you to keep your current job (ex. having someone else drive you to work, working at the office on some but not all days, etc.) then you can suggest these options to your employer and they have a duty to engage in an interactive process with you to come up with an accommodation that works for everyone.

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