Dentaltown June 2019 - 92

After your employee
has announced her pregnancy
Whether your employee announces that she is currently
expecting or that she hopes to become pregnant in the near
future, the action for you as an employer is the same. Your
responsibility is to remind them of the policies you already have
in place and carry on as usual. You can, and should, remind
your employee that you have policies in your handbook about
taking a leave of absence, requesting accommodations and
potential exposure to toxic substances. But you cannot make
any decisions for her.
When doctors and managers find out that an employee is
expecting, they are sometimes tempted to preemptively reassign
that employee from duties that might seem too stressful, difficult
or dangerous for a pregnant employee or an unborn child. The
most common example is informing the employee that she
will no longer be taking X-rays. Resist the temptation to do so.
Forcing such an accommodation on an employee is tantamount
to discrimination, regardless of how good your intentions were
when making the offer.
If the employee asks for a reasonable accommodation during
her pregnancy-such as extra breaks or a later start time to deal
with morning sickness-do your best to grant the request. You
are legally obligated to engage in an interactive process with the
employee in an attempt to provide a reasonable accommodation.
Most states allow employers to request information about an
employee's medical needs from a doctor to determine what a
reasonable accommodation might entail, and then work with
the employee to find a mutually agreeable solution.
If the result of this process shows that an accommodation
will put an undue burden on your practice, the law won't require
you to do it-but that's an extremely high standard that you'll
need to be able to prove. Document your conversations with the
employee, as well as any research you do on potential accommodations. If you absolutely
cannot come up with something that will work for both you and the employee, make sure
you can demonstrate how accommodating the request would strain your practice in a
way that makes the request impossible to meet on your end. Consult an HR expert before
denying the request.

If she's a bad employee, can I just let her go?
At CEDR, one of the most common questions we receive about expectant employees
is, "Can I fire her?" Usually that employee has exhibited some less-than-favorable
performance or behavior for some time and the employer simply hasn't taken the time
to address those issues.
The short answer here is "No." Even with documentation showing the employee's
history of poor performance, it is generally not a good idea to let an employee go once
you learn that she is pregnant as it will be hard for you to prove that the pregnancy was
not your reason for terminating (which would be perceived as discrimination). If you
have not been documenting that employee's poor performance or behavior, it is also not

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Dentaltown June 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Dentaltown June 2019

Dentaltown June 2019 - Intro
Dentaltown June 2019 - Cover1
Dentaltown June 2019 - Cover2
Dentaltown June 2019 - 1
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