Forced Unpaid Medical Leave due to Pregnancy
As a pregnant woman in the workplace, you are entitled to the same treatment as any other temporarily disabled employee. A New York employer cannot discriminate against you simply because you are pregnant. The gender discrimination lawyers of Phillips & Associates have years of experience helping employees take action against unlawful conduct. If your employer has forced you to take unpaid medical leave because of your pregnancy, it may have broken the law.Forced Medical Leave Without Pay Violates the Law
Federal law protects pregnant women from workplace discrimination under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). The New York State Human Rights Law and New York City Human Rights Law are state and local laws that provide very similar rules to the PDA.
The PDA mandates that if an employer provides temporarily disabled workers with scheduling modifications, changes in assignments, or other accommodations, the employer must provide the same treatment for pregnant employees. However, a company cannot force a temporarily disabled person to accept unwanted accommodations, such as unpaid medical leave, if the individual can perform the basic tasks of his or her job.
Since an employer must treat pregnant women no differently from any other temporarily disabled employee, it cannot force a female worker expecting a child to take unpaid medical leave because of her condition. As long as the employee is able to perform the major tasks of her job, she can work as long as she likes.
If and when a pregnant woman chooses to take medical leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), an employer cannot mandate when that leave is taken. If the employee qualifies for medical leave, she may choose to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off at any point in the 12 months after the birth of her child.
Employers who illegally force a pregnant worker to take unpaid medical leave may be required to pay compensation for the unlawful action. If a woman was forced to take unpaid leave due to her unborn child, and she files a successful claim under the PDA, she can potentially collect damages. These are intended to compensate the employee for the financial costs of the unlawful discrimination, and they would include back pay for the time she was wrongly forced to be away from work without salary.
Depending on the circumstances of the case, there may be other damages available for women whose employers have illegally forced them to take unpaid leave. Ask a knowledgeable attorney if you have questions about the types of compensation to which you may be entitled.Consult an Experienced New York Lawyer About Your Pregnancy Discrimination Case
If you are expecting a child, your employer cannot force you to take unpaid medical leave. The skilled legal team at Phillips & Associates can help you if you are the victim of unlawful conduct in the workplace. Our firm is comprised of pregnancy discrimination attorneys who have a passion for fighting injustice throughout New York. To see if we can help you, fill out our online contact form or call (212) 901-2107.