Phillips & Associates

Can My Employer Fire Me Due to the Pandemic Just Because I'm Pregnant?

Employment Discrimination Lawyers Based in New York City

Attorney Bryan Arce

Bryan Arce
barce@tpglaws.com
New York Office
45 Broadway #430
New York, NY 10006
Phone: (212) 248-7431
Fax: (212) 901-2107

Pregnancy can be an exciting time for expectant mothers. Unfortunately, some managers and supervisors carry negative stereotypes about pregnant women or fail to treat pregnant workers as they would treat other employees. COVID-19 presents particularly challenging circumstances for businesses. However, existing employment discrimination laws remain firmly in place during the pandemic. Employers need to make careful decisions to preserve employee safety and health, but this should not mean termination of those employees who are most vulnerable. If you are pregnant and concerned about whether your employer can fire you due to the pandemic, you should call the seasoned New York City pregnancy discrimination lawyers at Phillips & Associates. We understand that you may be experiencing anxiety as a pregnant worker during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your employer should engage with you to figure out whether there is a reasonable accommodation for your pregnancy, rather than making assumptions about your ability to work.

Can My Employer Fire Me Due to the Pandemic Just Because I'm Pregnant?

The short answer to this question is no. The pandemic poses increased risks for pregnant women and their babies. Even so, your employer cannot take your pregnancy into account when making employment decisions. Pregnancy discrimination remains illegal. Your employer cannot fire you due to the pandemic just because you are pregnant, even though the pandemic poses increased risks of severe illness for pregnant women. If your employer does this, you may be able to recover damages arising out of the wrongful termination.

Federal, state, and local laws prohibit pregnancy discrimination; discrimination can include any adverse employment action, including demotion or termination. The federal law prohibiting pregnancy discrimination is the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This law applies to businesses that have at least 15 employees. The state law prohibiting pregnancy discrimination is the New York State Human Rights Law. It applies to employers of any size in the state. The local law that prohibits pregnancy discrimination is the New York City Human Rights Law, which applies to businesses with at least four employees. Under the city law , employers must reasonably accommodate the needs of an employee for pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition. It does not matter whether your pregnancy or pregnancy-related condition qualifies as a disability.

Reasonable Accommodations

While your employer cannot terminate you due to your pregnancy, your employer may offer you a reasonable accommodation for your pregnancy during the pandemic. A reasonable accommodation is an alteration to a work environment, work schedule, or policy that would allow you to perform your job. A reasonable accommodation should be provided for your pregnancy, unless providing it would cause your employer to suffer an undue hardship.

Your employer should engage with you in a good-faith interactive process to determine whether it can provide a reasonable accommodation for your pregnancy during the pandemic. For example, your employer may ask you to work from home during the pandemic to accommodate your pregnancy. You should not face retaliation for requesting, or receiving, a reasonable accommodation.

Alternatively, your employer might offer you leave as a reasonable accommodation for your pregnancy. The New York Paid Family Leave Law may also allow you to obtain pay during your leave if you need to take the leave due to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19.

Failing to provide a reasonable accommodation for a pregnancy counts as pregnancy discrimination in New York City. You may be able to bring a lawsuit to pursue damages.

Contact Our Pregnancy Discrimination Attorneys

It can be devastating to lose your job and source of income when you are pregnant. Pregnancy involves substantial expenses, as does a new baby. If your employer terminated you during the pandemic simply because you were pregnant, the experienced trial attorneys at Phillips & Associates may be able to represent you. We assist clients in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, the Bronx, and Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties, as well as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Call us at (212) 248-7431 or complete our online form.

PHILLIPS & ASSOCIATES
45 Broadway, #430
New York, NY 10006
Tel: (212)248-7431
Fax: (212) 901-2107
Client Reviews
★★★★★
Phillips & Associates did a wonderful job. I would recommend Brittany Stevens. Angel
★★★★★
Employment dispute I had a dispute with my former employer, Jesse Weinstein was patient and thorough with my case. He covered every angle and was able to help me with my dispute. I would recommend Jesse Weinstein and Phillips and Associates in the future to anyone. Margaret
★★★★★
Hands down the best law firm for labor disputes in NYC. Being in the restaurant industry for more than 30 years I can say that this law firm is the number one choice for workers in the restaurant business that need to sue their company for wrongful termination. A special compliment to my lawyer Brittany Stevens. An amazing person and well prepared experienced lawyer. She was professional and empathetic to my case and worked in a time appropriate manner. She never miss a phone call at any hour of the day.The other associate that assisted Brittany was Yusha Hiraman. She was professional and answered any questions or concerns that I had. Brittany and her team helped me with what I needed, when I needed it. I want to thank them all (especially Brittany), for a job well done. Massimo
★★★★★
Jesse Weinstein handled my discrimination case. He was extremely patient and understanding throughout the process and remained professional and consistent even when I could not. I really felt like he had my back and I didn't have to worry. His expertise, combined with the experience of the Firm, resulted in the best possible outcome of my case. Although I wouldn't wish what I went through on anyone, things do and always will happen and I would highly recommend Jesse and this Firm to anyone facing discrimination or other workplace issues. Karen