The Pregnancy Discrimination Act Application – Sandra’s Scenario

Employee Rights/Safety – Assignment Instructions

Prepare a paper that discusses how the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, safety laws or other state laws might apply to the following scenario.

Sandra’s Scenario

One of your old college roommates, Sandra, is a nurse who took a job that required her to be able to lift 50 pounds smoothly. She was told the job had this physical strength requirement for patient safety and to ensure that teams of nurses could move patients as needed. Sandra worked for a nursing home chain that employed 900 employees. Sandra had become pregnant and on her doctor’s advice tried to refrain from lifting 50 pounds. After she kept finding herself in situations at work that required her to do this kind of lifting, she decided to just stay home until the baby was born. After the baby was born, Sandra went back to work, but her baby developed a medical condition that required her to see doctor’s frequently. Sandra didn’t have anyone else who could be a “dedicated” caregiver for her baby, so she took leave from work to tend to her child. When her leave was about to expire, she got her daughter’s doctor to write a note in support of extending her leave. The note wasn’t clear and suggested that the doctor thought it would be nice, but not necessary, for mother and child to be together. Sandra’s manager told her that the nursing home wouldn’t be able to keep her job open for her any longer. However, he told her she should apply to the company again as a new-hire when she was ready to get back to work.

Employee Rights/Safety Assignment Sample Answer

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)

The PDA prohibits pregnancy based discrimination when it comes to any employment aspect that include hiring, job assignments, pay, fringed benefits that include health insurance and leave, promotions, training, and any other employment condition. Based on this law, a woman who is temporarily incapable of doing her job because of a medical condition associated to childbirth or pregnancy, must be treated by the employer in the same manner as temporarily disabled workers are treated (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, n.d.). In this case, the nurse was unable to lift heavy object that are 50 pounds due to pregnancy. The employer based on PDA was required to assign lighter duties to her, those that did not require any lifting or those that involves lifting lighter objects.  In case such duties are not available in the working place, the employer should offer for unpaid leave just as he or she could do to temporary disabled persons in the organization.  In this case, the employer is unable to provide a reasonable accommodation to the pregnant nurse. However, the employer provided a favorable condition of unpaid leave where the pregnant nurse was able to take the unpaid leave just like disabled people do to be able to go through her difficult pregnancy.

The Family and Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) focuses on prioritizing on providing the workers with the aptitude to balance the family and work demands. FMLA offers eligible workers with job-protected, unpaid leave for particular medical and family reasons. Eligible workers, are required to take 12 workweek leave in a period of one year for child birth or adoption, to take care of their children, spouse or parent experiencing serious medical condition, for prenatal or pregnancy medical care, or for military families related duties. Extra leave days are only given to those taking care of servicemen or individuals caring for servicepersons families or in case one is able to prove that the dependent has a serious health condition that demands extra attention (U.S. Department of Labor: Wage and Hour Division (WHD), n.d.).In this case, Sandra needed extra time to take care of her new born baby who had a medical condition. She needed more than the maternity leave to care for her child who needed medical attention. She even had a doctor to write a note to convince the employer that Sandra needed more time with the baby.However, the doctor only shows it is nice and not necessary for Sandra to be with the baby. This makes it look like there could be an alternative to handle the situation, especially since the mother had already exhausted her leave time as required by the FMLA. The note does not clearly demonstrate the seriousness of the situation and hence, the organization is justified to deny Sandra extra leave time. However, if the doctor was convincing enough, the organization could have been forced to add Sandra’s leave days to cater for her ailing, however, it did not manage to do so, and hence Sandra can only get back to work or lose it. 

The American with Disabilities Act (ADA)

ADA forbids discrimination against individual with disabilities in various places including the working place. The law demands that the employer should be accommodative of disabled people by offering extra days of leave, when the disabled employee has exhausted his or her required leave days. In addition, these individuals should be provided with light duties that they can comfortably handle based on their health condition. The employer should also provide a favorable working condition for the disabled to enhance their movement and ease of working (U.S. Department of Labor, n.d.). This should also be available even to workers with temporal disabilities including pregnant women. Sandra enjoyed the privileges offered by ADA during her pregnancy. She was provided with an unpaid leave to be able to take care of her difficult pregnancy. However, this privilege could not be extended to Sandra after birth. Thus the ADA law does not protect Sandra child or Sandra after she recovers from her pregnancy related complications.

Safety Laws

The safety laws such as Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) was created to guarantee that every working person in the country contains a safe working environment. OSHA demands that an employer should provide workers with healthy working environment free from dangers of physical and psychological injuries or free from ergonomic injuries (HR Hero, 2017). Lifting can results to a number of injuries that include back injuries, and wrist injuries among others. It can even be more dangerous during pregnancy. An organization involved in a lot of lifting activities is required to provide machines and tools that can assist in lifting to make it easy. Lifting 50 pounds for frequently in a day is not easy. It can easily result to injuries even to healthy employees. The nursing home should consider identifying a better way to aid workers into lifting these loads to enhance ergonomic working environment. Where assisting tools cannot be used, the organization should offer training on ergonomic procedures to be used to ensure that one make these lift without subjecting his or her body into injuries.

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