Could Requiring Employees to Sit All Day Become a Legal Issue?

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Interesting to think about this issue due to the abundance of research indicating that prolonged sitting is detrimental to a person’s health. Could there be legal issues surrounding the requirement for employees to sit all day especially since 86 percent of American workers do just that in the office?

In Australia, “The National Heart Foundation is lobbying business groups to systematically make regular low level standing activity a workplace requirement armed with the warning they face a legal duty of care to workers on par with banning smoking from the workplace.”  Is the office of the future one that provides employees with treadmill desks, standing conferences, and walking meetings?

James A. Levine, M.D., Ph.D, of the Mayo Clinic offers some advice to get us all up and moving into the future and a healthy lifestyle.

  • Sit less and move more overall. Start simply by standing rather than sitting whenever you have the chance.
  • Stand while talking on the phone or eating lunch.
  • If you work at a desk for long periods of time, try a standing desk.
  • Think about ways to walk while you work such as walking laps with colleagues during a meeting.
  • Position your work surface above a treadmill — with a computer screen and keyboard on a stand or a specialized treadmill-ready vertical desk — so that you can be in motion throughout the day.

Tell Us: what changes are taking place in your office to help employees stand up and move? We’d like to hear from you.

Want to know how much you sit all day? The Sitting Time Calculator can help and might be the catalyst you need to get YOU up and moving.


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One Comment

  1. Maybe the actual written requirement from companies of sitting can be determined a legal issue. Sitting for long periods is detrimental to health, there are no questions there.

    The most dangerous part would be if businesses become required to have their employees move-around for certain periods of time or stand all day.

    If we make sitting along the same legal lines of smoking here in the U.S.A., there would be trouble.

    - All chairs would need a posted sticker saying that they are deadly for health
    - Those who allow breaking the law by sitting would be just as responsible, even if done in secret
    - Productivity in the workplace would suffer because of legal inspections and manager involvement.

    We can almost take the stance of Jeremy Bentham’s felicific calculus; sum up pleasure and pain and see if it’s right for you to do. All parties involved with you sitting would only be you… We haven’t heard of any second-hand sitting.

    If you feel like sitting… sit, but know the pain you’re deciding to take and the consequences with it.

    This is dangerous ground.

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