How Do You Win a Pregnancy Discrimination Case

You win a pregnancy discrimination case in New York City if your lawyer can prove it’s more likely than not that you suffered an adverse employment action due to your pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to these. There are different ways to prove discrimination depending on your specific circumstances. Still, in most cases, it can be challenging to go up against an employer with more resources than you, an experienced defense team, and often more information about what happened and why. When hired, our attorneys investigate and conduct discovery to obtain all evidence available to establish a lawsuit. We will need to gather enough to show that it is more likely than not your employer treated you less well because of your pregnancy.

You could win by proving it is more likely than not that you were terminated, not hired, demoted, or harassed due to your pregnancy. You may also be able to win if you were entitled to pregnancy or maternity leave and were denied that leave or retaliated against because you requested it. Pregnancy discrimination is a type of unlawful sex discrimination prohibited under federal, state, and local laws. At Phillips & Associates, our seasoned New York City pregnancy discrimination lawyers may be able to represent you in a lawsuit for damages. We offer free consultations.

Winning a Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit Under New York City Law

The New York City Human Rights Law prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition you develop because of either of these if your employer has at least four employees. For instance, you may be able to win if we can show it’s more likely than not that:

  • You were not hired because you disclosed your pregnancy.
  • You were terminated because you began to show your pregnancy.
  • You were passed over for a promotion because you asked for a reasonable accommodation and it would not have been hard for your employer to provide it, such as more frequent rest or water breaks.
  • You were paid differently or given different benefits than workers who were not pregnant because you told your employer you would be delivering in a few months.
  • You asked for Paid Family Leave in advance because you wanted your employer to have time to prepare, and as a result, you were demoted.

You could face actionable pregnancy discrimination at any point, from a job interview to termination. Pregnancy discrimination can happen at any point in the employment relationship, from hiring to firing. It is illegal for a company to refuse to hire someone because of pregnancy; to make assignments, promotions, or demotions based on pregnancy; or fire someone due to her pregnancy. However, in many cases, employers have been trained not to admit their bias and may point to other facts as a pretext for taking adverse action against you. It is rare to have direct evidence of pregnancy discrimination in the form of an employer expressly stating you are being terminated, or otherwise treated adversely, due to your pregnancy.

Winning a Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit Under State Law

The New York State Human Rights Law prohibits pregnancy discrimination in workplaces of any size. Consequently, you may be able to recover damages under state law even if you cannot obtain damages under the city law. When we have direct evidence, such as an admission from HR or a supervisor, that you were terminated because of your pregnancy, or because you asked for a reasonable accommodation, we can more readily win your pregnancy discrimination case. However, these admissions are extremely rare.

We may be able to win your New York City case, even if your employer doesn’t admit the real reason for its adverse decision, by gathering enough circumstantial evidence. We would need to have enough circumstantial evidence to allow the jury or judge to infer you were discriminated against. This evidence could involve showing that your employer acted in a way that doesn’t make financial sense, departed from typical policies, or changed its mind. When a discriminatory act occurs soon after disclosing pregnancy or medical condition, it could be circumstantial evidence. We may be able to use as evidence how other pregnant workers were treated in the workplace to prove your case too.

Winning a Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit Under Federal Law

It can be more challenging to win a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit under the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Like the others, it requires us to show that it is more likely than not your employer discriminated against you due to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related condition through direct or circumstantial evidence. However, the law only applies to those New York City employers that have at least 15 employees. Under federal law, pregnancy harassment is a type of discrimination. When it comes to harassment, it can be challenging to establish you were subject to a hostile work environment under federal law. You will need to show you were subject to behavior so severe or pervasive it altered your work conditions and made them abusive.

Damages if You Win a Pregnancy Discrimination Case

If we can win your pregnancy discrimination case, we may be able to recover damages on your behalf. Under state and local laws, these damages are not capped and can include:

  • Back pay
  • Front pay
  • Emotional distress
  • Attorneys’ fees
  • Punitive damages for egregious misconduct related to your pregnancy, childbirth, or a pregnancy-related condition.

Federal law caps compensatory and punitive damages based on the size of your employer. However, there may be strong case law in your favor, and it may be possible to recover a fair settlement or verdict under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

Hire a Pregnancy Discrimination Law Firm

Unfortunately, some employers do not take news of pregnancy or childbirth as good news. You may have a sense of how a long-time employer will respond to your announcement based on how it has responded to coworkers’ pregnancies. Or you may be taken aback by how your boss reacts. If you’re wondering how you win a pregnancy discrimination case in New York City workplaces, you should discuss your situation with our seasoned employment discrimination attorneys. Phillips & Associates is a plaintiff’s firm fighting for pregnant workers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, the Bronx, Nassau County, or Suffolk County. Call us at (866) 229-9441 or complete our online form for a free consultation.

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