I Have a High-Risk Pregnancy, and My Employer is Not Accommodating Me. What Can I Do?
Pregnancies are considered high risk when there are possible complications that could adversely affect the baby, the mother, or both of them. In most cases, high-risk pregnancies require special management to improve the chances of a good outcome. A pregnancy may be high risk due to preeclampsia, maternal age, gestational diabetes, twins, placenta previa, or pre-existing medical conditions like HIV or STDs. Any of these conditions may require that you obtain reasonable accommodations involving alterations to your work environment or schedule. If you have a high-risk pregnancy, and your employer is not accommodating you, you should consult an experienced New York City pregnancy discrimination lawyer at Phillips & Associates.I Have a High-Risk Pregnancy, and My Employer is Not Accommodating Me. What Should I Do?
Under the New York City Human Rights Law, employers with four or more employees must give their employees reasonable accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions. As a point of comparison, the New York State Human Rights Law requires employers only to accommodate pregnancy-related medical conditions. A reasonable accommodation under the city law involves alterations in environment or responsibilities that would allow a pregnant employee to continue to perform the essential functions of her job. If you have a high-risk pregnancy, and your employer is not accommodating you, you may have a claim under the New York City Human Rights Law, and you should consult an experienced attorney about the range of legal options that may be available.
Reasonable accommodations for a high-risk pregnancy could include a leave of absence, extra restroom breaks, periodic rest breaks, help with manual labor, and extra breaks to facilitate drinking more water. Sometimes a reasonable accommodation involves a change to the work environment, such as a different chair. It could involve help with more physically demanding work. Reasonable accommodations could include light duty or a temporary transfer to a different job. They could also include other adjustments to your work schedule.
Your employer can deny an accommodation for a high-risk pregnancy only if you could not, without a reasonable accommodation, satisfy the essential job requisites or if providing the accommodation would present an undue burden for the employer.Claims Under the New York City Human Rights Law
Under the New York City Human Rights Law, you may have a legal claim if your employer ignores your request for a reasonable accommodation, does not respond in a timely way to your request, or punishes you or terminates you because you asked for a reasonable accommodation. Moreover, your employer cannot ask for proof of pregnancy and can ask for a doctor’s note only if the accommodation that you are seeking involves time away from the workplace, and asking is not otherwise prohibited by law.
When you ask for a reasonable accommodation for a high-risk pregnancy, you should make the request in writing. The request should explain why you need leave and how long a leave you need. You should keep a copy of what you send to and receive from the employer. You should provide medical documentation if it is requested. It is also wise to talk to an experienced pregnancy discrimination lawyer about your situation.Other Legal Options When Denied a Reasonable Accommodation for a High-Risk Pregnancy
The New York City Human Rights Law provides some of the strongest anti-discrimination protections in the country and allows you to ask for a reasonable accommodation. However, you also may have recourse under state or federal laws if you are denied a reasonable accommodation for a high-risk pregnancy because these often involve medical conditions that constitute disabilities under federal or state laws. Federal laws that may be applicable to your situation include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).Consult a Skillful New York City Attorney
If you have a high-risk pregnancy, and your employer is not accommodating you, the knowledgeable attorneys at Phillips & Associates may be able to help. We can be reached at (212) 248-7431 or contacted via our online form. We represent clients in Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and the Bronx, as well as in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.