What Constitutes Sedentary Work in 2023?
In the evolving American workforce, the concept of sedentary work has undergone significant changes. To exercise their rights effectively in the workplace, it’s essential for Tennessee workers to understand what constitutes sedentary work to avoid unjust consequences, such as wrongful termination.
As employees continue to navigate the changing landscape of employment, it’s important to know the definition and implications of sedentary work. By staying informed about relevant federal laws and regulations, recognizing the evolving nature of sedentary work, and prioritizing their personal well-being, employees can ensure a healthy work environment while upholding their rights.
Defining “Sedentary” Work in 2023
Over time, advancements in technology and changing work practices have influenced the definition of sedentary work. In 2023, sedentary work refers to job roles that primarily involve sitting or standing, with minimal physical exertion or movement.
These occupations typically require individuals to spend the majority of their workday seated or standing while performing tasks. The level of physical activity required in sedentary work is limited compared to jobs requiring more strenuous physical exertion.
Common examples of sedentary occupations in 2023 include:
- Office workers – Administrative assistants, data entry professionals, accountants, and other office-based roles that involve desk work and computer use
- Call center operators – Employees who handle incoming calls or provide customer service or support while seated using computers or other technological systems/software
- Customer service representatives – Professionals who interact with customers via phone, email, or chat, addressing inquiries or resolving issues from a stationary position
- Insurance claims processors – Individuals responsible for processing and managing insurance claims, often requiring extended periods of desk work
- Certain legal professionals – Lawyers, paralegals, and legal assistants who spend significant time conducting research, drafting documents, and working on cases while seated
Sedentary occupations generally entail prolonged periods of sitting or standing while utilizing computers or other technological devices. Understanding the definition of sedentary labor is crucial for various reasons, including:
Defining sedentary work can have significant implications for various aspects of employment law, including:
- Accommodations for Sedentary Workers: The definition of sedentary work highlights the importance of providing appropriate accommodations for employees engaged in such roles. Under the ADA, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, including those whose conditions limit their ability to perform more physically demanding tasks. Understanding the definition of sedentary work helps determine the types of accommodations that may be necessary, such as ergonomic office furniture, adjustable workstations, or flexible schedules.
- Worker Safety and Health: Prolonged periods of sitting or standing associated with sedentary work can lead to health issues, including musculoskeletal disorders, cardiovascular problems, and obesity-related conditions. Employers have a responsibility to ensure a safe and healthy work environment for all employees, regardless of whether the job involves physical exertion or not. By considering the definition of sedentary work, employers should implement preventive measures and workplace wellness programs to address the unique health risks posed by prolonged sitting or standing.
- Wage and Hour Compliance: The classification of jobs as sedentary work can also impact wage and hour compliance. For instance, if an employee is misclassified as exempt from overtime pay due to being in a sedentary role, they may be entitled to overtime compensation if they work more than 40 hours in a workweek. To ensure compliance with wage and hour laws, it is crucial for employers to accurately classify positions based on the duties performed rather than relying solely on the sedentary nature of the work.
- Discrimination and Harassment Claims: The definition of sedentary work does not exempt employees from protection against discrimination or harassment in the workplace. Employees engaged in sedentary work may still face discriminatory practices or harassment based on protected characteristics such as race, gender, age, disability, or sexual orientation. Employment lawyers can help wronged employees file complaints or pursue legal action to hold employers accountable for such unlawful conduct.
While sedentary work may involve less physical exertion, employees engaged in these roles can still suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. The definition of sedentary work is relevant when determining the compensability of these claims. A qualified workers’ comp attorney can assist wronged employees in navigating the workers' compensation system to achieve full and fair compensation after sustaining a workplace injury or illness related to sedentary work.
Social Security Disability Benefits
The Social Security Administration uses the concept of sedentary work to determine eligibility for disability benefits. When assessing disability claims, they consider whether an individual can perform sedentary work. If someone is unable to perform even sedentary work due to a disabling condition, they may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.
What Laws Affect Sedentary Work in Tennessee?
Understanding which laws are in place to govern the definition and application of “sedentary work” is crucial. Some primary regulations to know include:
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – Established in 1990, the ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) – OSHA regulates workplace safety, including ergonomic considerations and the prevention of work-related musculoskeletal disorders.
- The Social Security Administration (SSA) – The SSA also plays a vital role in defining sedentary work when determining eligibility for disability benefits. The SSA defines sedentary jobs as those primarily involving sitting for most of the day, with limited standing or walking for no more than two hours per day.
Contact a Trusted Tennessee Employment Lawyer
Our trusted lawyers at Donati Law, PLLC have decades of experience representing wronged workers throughout the Mid-South. Since 1980, our compassionate advocates have fought diligently to protect the rights of those who have been mistreated, discriminated against, or wrongfully injured in the workplace. No one deserves to experience abuse or harassment at work, which is why our passionate law firm is here to protect the rights of our neighbors in Tennessee and beyond.
If you’ve been mistreated at work, you deserve full and fair compensation. Call (901) 209-5500 to schedule a consultation with our Mid-South lawyers.