Even though plenty of Americans have desk jobs, most workers still spend a great deal of time on their feet. Indeed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average civilian employee sits for about 44 percent of the workday and stands for 56 percent of it.
If your employer requires you to stand for much or all of your shift, you normally might not mind. Pregnant workers, though, can experience catastrophic health outcomes from excessive standing. Consequently, if you are pregnant, you should ask your employer to allow you to sit.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has some alarming news for pregnant women. Specifically, if you stand for extended time periods, you have an increased chance of having both a miscarriage and a preterm delivery. Moreover, pregnancy-associated hormones can be tough on your knee and ankle joints, likely making standing even more painful for you.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act gives you the right to request reasonable accommodations during your pregnancy. Unless standing is an integral part of your job or your employer’s business model, requesting a chair probably qualifies as a reasonable accommodation. This is true even if your manager thinks you should be able to stand.
If your employer discriminates against you because of either your pregnancy or your request for reasonable accommodations, you might have legal recourse. Moreover, if your employer terminates your employment or retaliates against you, you may have additional legal options.
Ultimately, because of the potentially dire consequences of continuing to stand during your pregnancy, it is imperative to exercise your right to have reasonable accommodations as soon as possible.