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What kinda laws in north Carolina protect me from pregnancy discrimination? Does my employer have to abide by my doctors note?

Greensboro, NC |

I am 22 weeks pregnant and have a doctors note that states that i must work from a seated position when i feel necessary. My work usually consist of standing and lifting repetitively. So i let them know the last 3 hours of my work day I feel its necessary to sit and work due to swelling in feet and leg pain. My HR department tried to give me reasons why i shouldn't sit the whole 3 hours, that "my legs needed circulation" and "do i know how salt could affect my swelling". Told me to sit and wait for people to walk by my work area and throw some work on my table and hope that when I finish that work someone else will walk by to help me again. Overall, even with the help there is no way I will be able to sit the whole time......are they discriminating against me?

Attorney Answers 3

  1. I don't think there is enough information to make a call on this one. Your doctor told you to work from a seated position, but you said you only need the last three hours . . . so your not following his orders. Then you stated you were allowed to sit and wait for work, so it seems like they are trying to comply with your needs. If they do not have anything for you to do while you are sitting, it sounds like your new job is to sit . . . which I would contend is probably a detriment to your employer (having to pay for someone to sit around). You should contact a labor law attorney and provide additional details.

    The information provided by Attorney Matthew V. Silva is based upon the generic and ambiguous facts presented in short questions. Without a full consultation with an attorney, you should not rely upon any information presented in this forum. The intricate facts of every case are different. The information provided is not legal advice and should not be the basis of any decision without the actual guidance of an attorney. Further, any information provided by Attorney Matthew V. Silva should not be perceived as a willingness to represent you or actual representation. If you would like to speak with Attorney Matthew V. Silva, please call Silva and Sweet, PLLC at 910-333-9833 or visit

  2. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy for employers with 15 or more employees. Basically the PDA requires an employer to treat a pregnant employee the same as a non-pregnant employee. So if the employer accommodates doctor's restrictions that are the same as yours for non-pregnant employees, then you may have a pregnancy discrimination case. However, the PDA does not require the employer to treat you better and does not require the employer to honor your doctor's restrictions if it does not honor doctor restrictions for non-pregnant employees.

    Kirk J. Angel is an experienced attorney who focuses his practice on employment law. Mr. Angel, who has practiced employment law for more than 15 years, represents clients throughout North Carolina and more information about him is available at This response is for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. Additionally, this response does not create an attorney client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer in your state who practices in the appropriate area.

  3. These cases are very fact specific. Your best option is to consult with a local employment attorney. Good luck.

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