Modifying tasks when pregnant. My boss says "no".

  1. Has anyone else had to modify their tasks at work for being pregnant?

    I'm an RN in General Pediatrics & Pediatric Oncology and my OBGYN wants me on "light duty" at work for my pregnancy and I told my boss about this, I have a note and all from the doctor too. My boss told me there is no such thing as light duty for pregnant women and that I'd either have to be on maternity leave or not, however I've seen on several occasions that they assign light duty to others who have had a sprained ankle or wrist or who have hurt their back. These women have been assigned transport or come in to help with admissions or just to walk through the units to help the other nurses out.

    My position is such that I can be on my feet for literally up to 12.5 hours at a time. There is a lot of heavy lifting (which I've been avoiding), a lot of running, and extreme stress as I'm sure many of you can relate to! To top it off I work over-night and have always had a hard time sleeping during the day.

    I don't want to push the issue of "light duty" with my boss but I feel like I'm being treated very unfairly. I found a government website stating "If an employee is temporarily unable to perform her job because of her pregnancy, the employer must treat her the same as any other temporarily disabled employee. For example, if the employer allows temporarily disabled employees to modify tasks, perform alternative assignments, or take disability leave or leave without pay, the employer also must allow an employee who is temporarily disabled because of pregnancy to do the same."

    I'm really frustrated. I still have 3 months left before the baby is due and I was planning to work up to at least 38 weeks (unless of course my OBGYN wants me out earlier). I wanted more time off with the baby and I am so upset about this. I don't want to hurt myself on the job because my boss won't help me to modify my tasks.
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    About RNnik07

    Joined: Dec '09; Posts: 17; Likes: 9


  3. by   noreenl
    First of all, congratulations on the new addition to your family!!!

    I have a couple of questions for you. Is your facility unionized? Have you looked into FMLA if your employer doesn't cooperate so that you can take a short leave and your benefits stay in effect while you get ready for baby. Do you know of specific instances where another employee received permission for "Light Duty" and used it . It doesn't matter why, because what you are looking for is a prescedent(not so hot in spelling today sorry!)
    I don't know what state you are from so although you have the federal rules, you need to find out what your state guidelines are. lastly are you in a public hospital which is subject to PERB (Public Employees Relations Board) or a for profit private hospital which comes under NLRB (national Labor relations Board? are you a member of a union? Please let me know if I can help you at all as I was a union officer for over 10 years and specialized in worker's compensation and FMLA. You can PM me if you wish or we can help out a few more folks if we do this on allnurses for everyone to see and learn and help!!!
    Get back to me as soon as you can so you don't lose any time!!!!
  4. by   RNnik07
    Hi Noreen. Yes my facility is unionized, I am a member of NYSNA. I signed up for FMLA and just sent my paper work in for my maternity leave. Other nurses have been given light duty for the following reasons which I am aware of; one sprained/broke her ankle outside of work and upon returning (with a fracture cast in place) was allowed light duty for, from what I remember, was about a month maybe longer, it was last year. Another with a sprained wrist was given transport duty, I'm not sure if she hurt herself at work or outside of work. And another which happened last week hurt herself while lifting a patient and has been put on light duty (she is an aide and they had her answering phones the other night!)

    I called the disability office at my place of employment and left a message last night, however I haven't heard back from anyone today - maybe because it is New Years Eve, I'm not sure if they are there?

    I work in New York State just north of the city by about 45 minutes.

    It is not a private hospital and I don't know anything about PERB. If you have any information that may help I would appreciate it. I'm just very frustrated and am not looking to do light duty because of being pregnant alone, it is because earlier this week I had a bit of a scare with my pregnancy and went in to see my OBGYN. He examined me and said he didn't know if he should send me back to work or not. I told him they offer others light duty and he said I could go back and gave me a note to work light duty. On that note it doesn't specify why though. But my boss wasn't interested in why he wanted me on light duty, she just told me no.

    Thanks for your help!!!
  5. by   nursingstudent221
    I dont have any Information for you but good luck... hope everything works out for you and congrats on the baby!!!
  6. by   noreenl
    NYSNA is definitely where you should be going!!! They will have a record of who has had to fight for light duty before you and whaat tactics and options are for your specific case! I was an officer with CSEA and I worked with NYSNA before they are great!! Find out who your representative isa and talk with them ASAP. Tell them everything you have already done so that they have all the info. You should have a journal style record that includes who you spoke with, how (phone,face to face etc,)and where, anyone who was icluded or not included in the conversation and you should ALWAYS have someone with you so it doesn't become "he said, she said" ADMINISTRATION usually wins those!! keep in touch PM me if youy wish and as always You are not alone!!!
  7. by   Nurse Lulu
    sorry for being late,

    where I work you can only get light duty for on the job injuries-not pregnancy.