How Should You Tell Your Boss You’re Pregnant?
You should tell your boss you’re pregnant when you’re ready to tell him or her, or need a reasonable accommodation due to your pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition. If you tell your boss that you’re pregnant in your second or third trimester, the employer can plan for your absence, both for childbirth and to bond with your new baby, and this can be important to facilitate a smooth transition. You should generally tell your boss at least thirty days before giving birth; most women are showing well before that. But many women are nervous to tell their employers that they are pregnant. You may be concerned it will impact how your boss and coworkers perceive you. Nevertheless, it is illegal for your employer to discriminate against you under federal, state, and local laws because you disclosed that you were pregnant. If you believe that your boss is discriminating against you because you told him or her about your pregnancy, you should call Phillips & Associates. Our experienced New York City pregnancy discrimination lawyers offer free consultations. We understand that it can be terrifying to face a precarious situation at work, or getting fired when you’re expecting an addition to your family. Therefore, we represent clients on a contingency fee basis.
You should prepare for your meeting with your boss to tell him or her about the pregnancy. In the meeting, it’s wise to focus on the positive and think through solutions for any problems that could arise with leave for childbirth, such as shifting specific job duties to others. While there is no rule that you have to tell your employer in person, a face-to-face meeting can allow you to gauge your employer’s immediate reaction should trouble arise (in a way that email cannot.) If consulting with our attorneys, you should mention any unpleasant reactions or statements your boss made in response to your pregnancy announcement.Factors that Affect How You Tell Your Boss
There is a range of factors that could impact the timing and content of your pregnancy announcement to your boss in New York City. These factors can include:
- Whether you’re showing
- How you’re feeling
- How far along you are in your pregnancy
- The type of job you do
- Performance reviews
- Your work situation
Because you may feel trepidation about telling your boss, you may want to wait until the end of your first trimester or at the start of the second. At that point, the risk of miscarriage is usually reduced. As the second trimester progresses, however, you may start to show, and your boss may know about your pregnancy before getting a chance to talk to him or her. The right time to tell your boss and what you should say depends on your specific pregnancy; each situation is unique. Some women wait until they’ve received the result of their amniocentesis. Others may want to, or need to, disclose within the first trimester because they’re already experiencing symptoms or medical conditions in connection with the pregnancy such as hyperemesis gravidarum, which is a condition involving severe nausea and vomiting, along with electrolyte disturbance and weight loss.Telling Your Boss About Your Pregnancy to Get a Reasonable Accommodation
You may need to disclose earlier than you’d like because you need a reasonable accommodation. Your employer should give you a reasonable accommodation for your pregnancy, childbirth, or pregnancy-related medical condition under the New York State Human Rights Law or the New York City Human Rights Law. But it does not need to provide an accommodation if it would pose an undue hardship.
Your specific circumstances and condition will factor into what accommodations your employer can provide to address your needs. If you believe you are being discriminated against because you need a pregnancy accommodation, you should discuss your situation with our lawyers. We can use our collective years of experience taking cases to trial to evaluate how the court is likely to see your claim.
Under the city law, your employer may still need to broach the subject of a reasonable accommodation, even if you haven’t asked for the accommodation. Your employer should initiate a cooperative dialogue with you if it knows your you are pregnant and that your job performance was affected by it and, could therefore lead to an adverse employment action or has reason to believe your lowered performance is related to pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition.
Indeed, once you tell your supervisors you’re pregnant, they should engage in a cooperative dialogue with you. Your employer must:
- Initiate the dialogue
- Figure out your needs concerning an accommodation
- Communicate with you in good faith and let you know, in writing, of its determination about the accommodation.
But your employer doesn’t need to provide you with the precise accommodation you requested. It may offer alternatives that would work better for it.
Reasonable accommodations are changes to the work environment or how things are done that would allow you to perform your job when you’re pregnant. They could include:
- Schedule shifts to see your doctor
- Modifications to your job tasks so that you do not need to perform work around hazardous substances or other conditions in the workplace that could be dangerous to you and your baby
- More frequent rest breaks
- Remote work
As of January 1, 2021, you may be eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave to bond with a new baby; it is partially paid. If possible, you should find out your employer’s maternity leave policies even before telling your boss you’re pregnant. Often this information is outlined in an employment handbook, which your boss may have provided when you started your job. In some cases, employers also offer paid leave. If you’ve already experienced some discriminatory behavior because your pregnancy has started to show, you should consult our attorneys even before you talk to your boss. You may want to document what happens at the meeting.Our Firm Can Represent You Against Your Boss for Pregnancy Discrimination
If you’re wondering how you should tell your boss about your pregnancy in a New York City workplace, you should call our seasoned employment discrimination attorneys. Phillips & Associates is a trial firm representing pregnant workers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, the Bronx, Nassau County, or Suffolk County. Call us at (212) 248-7431 or complete our online form for a free consultation.
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