New York City Pregnancy Discrimination Laws
Unfortunately, pregnant employees sometimes face workplace discrimination. In order to ensure that pregnant workers are treated fairly, New York has some of the most protective pregnancy discrimination laws in the country. The New York pregnancy discrimination attorneys of Phillips & Associates have a track record of protecting the rights of pregnant individuals. If you are pregnant and work in New York City, your employer must provide you reasonable accommodations that allow you to do your job upon your request. Otherwise your employer is breaking New York City law.New York City Employers Cannot Discriminate Against Pregnant Employees
New York City law prohibits gender discrimination, which includes discrimination based on pregnancy. Pregnancy cannot be the reason an employer refuses to hire, fires, denies training, or withholds benefits from any employee or potential employee. If an employer bases an employment decision on the fact that a person is pregnant, he may be guilty of pregnancy discrimination or wrongful termination. Likewise, pregnant employees are protected from a hostile work environment by federal, state, and city law.New York City’s Pregnancy Fairness Act
In addition to banning pregnancy discrimination, in 2013 the New York City Council passed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which guarantees that employers provide pregnant employees with reasonable accommodations. The reasonable accommodation must be given to help with employee’s pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. Some examples of reasonable accommodations might be extra breaks or help with manual labor, such as lifting heavy items.
Any accommodation that does not cause undue hardship to the employer is likely to be a reasonable accommodation. If an employer chooses not to provide a given accommodation, it is the employer’s burden to prove that it causes undue hardship. In determining whether an accommodation causes undue hardship, several things are taken into consideration, including the:
- Cost of the accommodation;
- Financial resources of the employer overall and the facility at which the accommodation is requested;
- Impact of the accommodation;
- Numbers of employees who work at the same office or facility; and
- Type of operation of the employer.
So long as the employer knew or should have known that the employee was pregnant, the employer must provide accommodations that make it possible for the pregnant employee to work. New York City employers must comply with this law provided that the employee can perform the essential tasks of their job, with or without the reasonable accommodations.
Employers must provide a notice to employees of the new law, either with information given to new employees when they are hired, or to existing employees either directly or by posting the information where the employees will see it.New York City Laws Protect Pregnant Employees
In addition to the protections described above, the New York City Human Rights Law provides protection against pregnancy discrimination and harassment. Any employer with four or more employees must comply with this law.
The New York State Human Rights law contains similar provisions to the city’s law, although it does not provide the same reasonable accommodation protections. Likewise, the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) protects pregnant women from discrimination and harassment in the workplace. The PDA, however, is not as broad in its protection or application, as it applies to employers with 15 or more employees. It also does not provide the same reasonable accommodation protections as the New York City law.Victims of Pregnancy Discrimination May Recover Damages
Individuals whose employers have committed illegal pregnancy discrimination can file a complaint to recover damages, which include back pay and other compensatory damages. In addition, workers can sue for injunctive relief, such as job reinstatement or an order forcing the employer to stop participating in the discriminatory practices. Some employees who bring a successful pregnancy discrimination suit may also be able to collect punitive damages. Ask a knowledgeable lawyer about the damages that may be available to you.Protect Your Rights with an Experienced Attorney
Pregnant employees in New York City have the law on their side. If you have been the victim of illegal pregnancy discrimination, including the denial of accommodations that would allow you to do your job, talk to an experienced New York City pregnancy discrimination attorney at Phillips & Associates. Call (212) 248-7431 or send us a message online to schedule your free consultation today.