Can my employer institute new lifting requirements as a condition of employment?

UPDATED: Oct 11, 2010

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Can my employer institute new lifting requirements as a condition of employment?

My employer recently instituted new lifting requirements as part of my job description. These are new and not part of my job description when I was hired. They are to lift 50 lbs from the floor to a shelf 60″ high 5 times. I am a female who weighs 125 lbs and this amount of weight is impossible for me to lift over my head. Is this legal?

Asked on October 11, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

In most states employment relationships are what is known as "at will", and FL is no exception.  What this means is that basically an employer can hire or fire someone for any reason or no reason whatsoever, as well has increase/decrease salary/hours, promote/demote, and generally impose requirements as they see fit.  You in turn can work for an employer, or not, your choice. 

The exceptions to the above would be if there is a stated company policy contrary to this, or there is a union/employment agreement that does not allow for such action, or this situation has arisen due to some type of discrimination (i.e., for reasons due to your race, religion, age, disability, sex, national origin).  Absent any of the foregoing, your employer's action does not violate the law.

If you think that employment discrimination is at play here (ie there is no legitimate reason for this requirement other than to terminate your employment), you need to file a compliant with your state's department of labor and/or consult with an employment law attorney in your area.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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