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

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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

Answers:

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

Answered 11 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.


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