Can My Employer Force Me to Quit Due to My Pregnancy?

Employment Lawyers Advocating for Workers in New York City

Some of our clients wonder whether their employers can require them to quit because they are pregnant. Pregnancy discrimination is illegal under federal, state, and local laws. Pregnancy discrimination can take the form of an employer terminating a pregnant employee, but it also can involve an employer trying to force an employee to quit through other means, such as demotions or harassment. Your employer should not take steps to try to get you to leave your job. If your employer is trying to force you to quit due to your pregnancy, you should consult the experienced New York City pregnancy discrimination attorneys at Phillips & Associates.

Can My Employer Force Me to Quit Due to My Pregnancy?

Your employer is not allowed to force you to quit because of your pregnancy. Moreover, it is unlawful for a New York City employer with more than four employees to terminate you because you are pregnant or to change the terms and conditions of your job because you are pregnant, give birth, or experience related conditions. Furthermore, you are entitled to reasonable accommodations for a pregnancy-related condition. These accommodations could include a modified work schedule, occasional breaks to rest or drink water, leave for related medical needs, or available light duty assignments.

Federal Law

Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, your employer cannot treat you differently due to your pregnancy than it treats other temporarily disabled employees. Your pregnancy may include serious morning sickness, a need for bed rest, or gestational diabetes, and your employer should give you the same treatment and benefits for these conditions as it would give to employees with other temporary disabilities. You should not be coerced to quit because you need accommodations.

The New York State Human Rights Law

Under the New York State Human Rights Law, employers with at least four employees are prohibited from engaging in pregnancy discrimination or harassment. They cannot force you to quit, and they must provide reasonable accommodations to you if you have a pregnancy-related condition as that is defined under state law.

The New York City Human Rights Law

The New York City Human Rights Law is expansive. It applies to employers with at least four employees, and it prohibits pregnancy discrimination. An employer should not terminate you because of your pregnancy, nor should it create workplace conditions that would force you to quit. In fact, an employer is supposed to provide you with a reasonable accommodation related to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition that would allow you to keep working or go back to work promptly while keeping your pregnancy healthy.

Constructive Discharge

There are situations in which an employer, rather than terminating an employee, tries to force an employee to quit by making work conditions intolerable. One way in which an attorney might be able to help you obtain damages in this situation is by showing a constructive discharge under the New York City Human Rights Law. Your attorney would need to be able to show that the employer deliberately generated working conditions that were so intolerable that a reasonable person would have felt compelled to quit the job.

Your employer must not have had justifiable business reasons for any adverse changes made to the workplace, and it should have been apparent to the employer that this adverse change would make a reasonable employee quit. Situations that might give rise to a constructive discharge claim include a demotion to a humiliating position because you are pregnant, a punitive transfer to a dangerous job to get you to quit because you are pregnant, and harassment because you are pregnant. Constructive discharge claims are very hard to establish, which means that you should not quit your job because you are hoping that you have such a claim. It is wise to consult an attorney about your situation if you believe that your employer is trying to force you to quit.

Consult a Skillful Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer

If you believe that your employer is trying to force you to quit because of a pregnancy, it is important to talk to an attorney. Contact Phillips & Associates at (866) 229-9441 or via our online form. We handle pregnancy discrimination litigation in New York City, as well as Westchester County, Long Island, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

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