Pregnancy and the Americans with Disabilities Act
New York City Lawyers Helping Protect Your Workplace Rights
Pregnancy discrimination is forbidden under local, state, and federal anti-discrimination laws. Under these laws, you may be entitled to a reasonable accommodation for your pregnancy. Moreover, if you suffer from a pregnancy-related disability, you may also be entitled to a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), depending on the circumstances. If you want to know more about the intersection of pregnancy and the Americans with Disabilities Act, you should consult the New York City pregnancy discrimination lawyers at Phillips & Associates.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, such that employers with at least 15 employees are not permitted to discriminate against pregnant employees with respect to any employment benefit, including termination, hiring, health insurance, job assignments, or disability leave.
Your employer is supposed to extend the same entitlements to you as a pregnant woman as it does to other employees who have similar situations. Accordingly, if your employer provides reasonable accommodations to other workers who have temporary disabilities, such as a broken leg or pneumonia, it should also provide those accommodations to you. For instance, if your employer allows employees with broken legs to shift to light duty, you may also be entitled to take light duty if you need it for your pregnancy. An employer must show a valid and non-discriminatory reason if it wants to treat you differently while you are pregnant.
If your employer does not provide accommodations for temporary disabilities, you may need to turn to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other laws for protection. Our attorneys can advise you on your next steps.
Pregnancy and the Americans with Disabilities Act
Your pregnancy is not itself a disability. However, if you have a pregnancy-related disability, you may be protected under the ADA. The ADA protects employees who work for employers with at least 15 employees. It forbids employment discrimination against a qualified person with a disability based on that person’s disability. Qualified people with disabilities are people who have disabilities and who can perform the essential job functions, whether or not they have a reasonable accommodation.
The ADA defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that significantly restricts a major life activity, such as lifting, standing, walking, sleeping, or breathing. Under the ADA, a disability includes not only any mental or physical impairment that greatly restricts one or more of your life activities, but also a record of having such an impairment or being regarded by your employer as having an impairment.
Under the ADA, you may be entitled to a reasonable accommodation from your employer for disabling gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, pubic symphysis, or another pregnancy-related condition that meets the definition of a disability under the ADA.
What are Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnancy?
Reasonable accommodations under the ADA can include any alterations to your duties, schedule, or workspace that would permit you to perform your essential job functions. These can include changes to your work hours, ergonomic chairs or desks, restrictions on lifting or standing, leaves of absence, or transfers to positions that are less physically strenuous or that do not involve toxic chemicals. For example, if you have pubic symphysis and cannot walk or stand, your employer may be required to allow you to work from home. Your employer does not need to provide an accommodation if it would result in an undue hardship, given its size and resources.
If you are disabled by a pregnancy-related condition, you should tell your employer that you need a reasonable accommodation. Your employer should engage you in what is called a good-faith interactive process to discuss your needs and how the employer can provide an accommodation.
Consult an Experienced New York City Attorney
If you want to know more about your rights involving pregnancy and the Americans with Disabilities Act, you should call our firm. The employment lawyers at Phillips & Associates represent pregnant workers who have faced discrimination throughout New York City and in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Call us at (866) 229-9441 or complete our online form.
PHILLIPS & ASSOCIATES
1635 Market St #1600A
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: (866) 229-9441
Fax: (866) 229-9441
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