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Bryan E. Kuhn
Counselor at Law, P.C.
Business & Employment Law Attorney

What should employers provide for pregnant workers in the summer?

On Behalf of | Jul 3, 2019 | Blog

Summer is one of the most dangerous times of the year for Colorado workers. The traffic is terrible, the temperatures are dangerously hot and a lot of employees end up going home looking more red than usual.

Thousands of workers suffer every year from excessive sun exposure, dehydration and heat-related illnesses. Imagine having to deal with all of this while expecting a child soon. Employers are required by the state to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees, but many of them forget how difficult summer is for these future mothers. Here are some ways your boss can help you beat the heat during these scorching months:

Job transfers

Women have higher body temperatures than normal when they are pregnant, so they’ll have an especially hard time working in temperatures above 90 degrees. One of the possible accommodations listed in Colorado’s Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is that employers could provide a temporary transfer to a less physically demanding position. They would then allow the worker to go back to their current position once they return to work after the delivery.

This service does vary on what alternate positions are available for the company, but workers that frequently operate outdoors usually need it. If the employer proposes this accommodation before the employee requests it, the employee doesn’t have to accept it, but they should consider all the health risks they face under the sun.

More water breaks

Pregnant women suffer from dehydration very easily and require frequent breaks for fluid intake. If they do not get enough water, they could suffer from excessive Braxton-Hicks contractions, low blood pressure and extreme thirst. Employers and workers must watch out for the following symptoms:

  • Dry mouths
  • Exhaustion
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Feeling thirsty

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act requires employers to give pregnant employees longer break periods for drinking water and going to the bathroom. They should be aware of how large an issue dehydration is for physically demanding positions around this time of year, so they should be especially mindful when a worker is in her second or third trimester.

Employers that do not take reasonable efforts to accommodate pregnant workers could put the lives of these expecting mothers and their unborn children in serious danger. Employees should know their rights and what treatments they deserve during this vulnerable period of their lives.

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