Pregnant Worker Takes Vacation Time to Visit Restroom

Pregnant Worker Takes Vacation Time to Visit Restroom

pregnant worker at T-Mobile annoyed her employer by using the restroom more often than the employer liked. Her pregnancy required her to drink more than usual, and the increased water intake, together with the crowding near the bladder caused by pregnancy, made her take more frequent breaks.  Facing extreme scrutiny, she had to take vacation time for her bathroom breaks (really), and then was fired for making a minor and uncharacteristic mistake.

It does not appear that this person filed a lawsuit, but she did write a blog post in favor of paid sick leave. I agree with her that paid sick leave should be required for companies over a certain size.  It’s obvious that not allowing sick leave causes workers to come to work with infectious illnesses, or to lose a job over a temporary health issue.  Still, using paid sick leave for a five minute break is overkill, and reflects a bias against pregnant women.

Maryland’s new pregnancy accommodation law, which will be signed into law on May 16, would require accommodations such as more frequent bathroom breaks.  Because the T-Mobile worker was held to certain performance standards, a reasonable accommodation might be to alter the standards or allow her to work a slightly longer shift to make her numbers.  Pregnant women are already facing a maternity leave, many of them unpaid.  To lose their job and health benefits prior to giving birth is a nightmare.

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