Zookeeper Asks if He’s Wrong for Refusing to Do a Pregnant Coworker’s Dirty Work?

I think most people try to do their best to support pregnant women in the world. They’re uncomfortable, they’re usually tired, because growing a human is hard work, and we feel a certain reverence, I think, because without pregnant women, none of us would exist.

There are some jobs that pregnant women aren’t supposed to do – like change the cat litter or pick up heavy things – and I imagine people mostly pick up the slack there, too.

In this case, though, it’s not something

she’s not supposed to do because she’s pregnant, it’s just something she’d rather not do.

OP (original poster) is a young man being trained as a zookeeper, along with another young lady who is pregnant.

I [22M] and this coworker just recently got hired as first-time zookeepers in the past couple months.

She seemed nice enough when I met her, and we didn’t talk a whole lot as our work didn’t overlap – she’s being trained on small mammals, whereas I’m a “swing keeper” (basically a junior keeper who fills in as an assistant as needed).

The otter dens were her duty, but she asked OP to clean them every day for the foreseeable future because the smell was making her sick.

OP said the smell makes everyone sick and that no, he didn’t want to do it – that said, he did give it a go.

But a couple weeks ago, she told me that she needs help cleaning the otter dens and wants me to do it every day for the foreseeable future instead of her…which, from my limited experience in that enclosure, was NOT news I was thrilled to hear.

I ask her why I’d need to do that every day, that’s part of her job…she told me that she’s pregnant and that the smell in there is making her sick.

I said “they’re otters, that smells makes everyone feel sick…” but she insisted.

I said no, why should I have to spend half an hour in there every single day on top of everything else I already have to do…but she got mad and I reluctantly gave it a go that day. It was a miserable 30 minutes.

He didn’t want to do it again, and when he told her as much, she got angry and called him insensitive.

The next day she insisted again, but I put my foot down.

I told her I hate the otter smell too, and I had other things to do besides do her job for her.

I said I’d even be willing to help with the cleaning for any other small mammals, but not the otters.

But she insisted I help with the otters and said I was being insensitive to her needs.

When they went to their supervisor with the argument he sided with her, saying it was a reasonable accommodation request based on her condition.

In the end we got in a bit of a fight and our supervisor got involved and basically took her side and asked me if I could spare some time each day to clean the otter dens, and that this was part of giving “reasonable accommodation” for her pregnancy…which I just didn’t think was fair.

And now the coworker won’t speak to me.

Is OP the a$$hole? Let’s find out what Reddit thinks!

He’s lucky this person isn’t his boss.

Image Credit: Reddit

And yeah, having never been pregnant, he really can’t judge how she’s feeling.

Image Credit: Reddit

They really want him to consider having some compassion, but also, this is the job he’s signed up for.

Image Credit: Reddit

We did have a few grudging ESH (everyone sucks here).

Image Credit: Reddit

OP is young. Everyone seems sure that he’ll learn what having a job with other people is like soon enough.

Image Credit: Reddit

I think they were pretty fair with this kid, because it’s really more of a maturity thing as opposed to him just being rude.

What do you think? Would you have cut him some slack? Tell us in the comments!