Pregnancy Discrimination and New York State Division of Human Rights
New York City Attorneys Protecting the Rights of Employees
There are many challenges that a pregnant mother faces, including ensuring that she and her growing baby remain healthy during the length of the pregnancy and that the baby will have everything it needs when it arrives. Unfortunately, some employers choose to discriminate against pregnant mothers during this exciting but stressful time. In some instances, the discrimination causes the expecting mother to lose her job or to take a pay cut, creating a new source of unneeded stress. Thankfully, New York State has enacted a Human Rights Law designed to protect mothers from this unlawful and unwarranted discrimination. At Phillips & Associates, our pregnancy discrimination lawyers have helped many female employees in New York City bring a claim pursuant to the New York Human Rights Law and are ready to help you seek the compensation that you deserve.
The New York State Division of Human Rights
The entity responsible for administering New York State’s Human Rights Law is the New York State Division of Human Rights. This agency was established in order “to ensure that every individual … has an equal opportunity to participate fully in the economic, cultural and intellectual life of the State.” The division is responsible for prosecuting incidences of unlawful discriminatory practices, reviewing complaints of discrimination, creating educational materials about discrimination, and developing proposed state legislation on discrimination rights.
One of the main issues that the division regulates is pregnancy discrimination. According to the Human Rights Law, it is unlawful “[f]or an employer to compel an employee who is pregnant to take a leave of absence, unless the employee is prevented by such pregnancy from performing the activities involved in the job or occupation in a reasonable manner.” The same law applies to interns as well.
Pregnancy discrimination can take many forms, and can occur even after a woman has given birth. In general, pregnancy discrimination involves making an employment decision, such as refusing to hire an applicant, based solely on the applicant’s or employee’s pregnancy. While there are blatant incidences of pregnancy discrimination, most of this unlawful conduct is subtler in nature. In these situations, an applicant or employee can use circumstantial evidence to establish that pregnancy discrimination has occurred. Examples include situations in which an employer deviates from standard practices and procedures, changes the existing procedures, or handles the situation differently compared to similar situations that have occurred in the past.
Other circumstantial evidence includes:
- Being terminated (or demoted) shortly after telling your employer you are pregnant.
- Bring terminated (or demoted) once your pregnancy starts to show.
- Being terminated (or demoted) shortly after you return from giving birth or pregnancy leave.
Timing is a key component in establishing pregnancy discrimination. Women are not obligated to inform their employer if they become pregnant, but it usually becomes obvious during the second and third trimester. If an employer engages in discriminatory conduct around the same time that the pregnancy becomes apparent or the woman announces that she is pregnant, there is a strong inference that the employer’s motivation was discriminatory in nature.
Experienced Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyers in New York City
Interpreting the New York Human Rights Law and understanding the remedies that it provides can be difficult. If you are pregnant and have recently suffered discrimination such as wrongful termination from a New York City employer as a result, the attorneys at Phillips & Associates can help. We have provided seasoned legal counsel to employees and applicants throughout the five boroughs, including Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Queens. We have experience filing claims with the New York State Division of Human Rights and can help you along every step of the way. We offer a free consultation, and we do not collect any fees unless we obtain a settlement or a judgment in your favor. Call us now at (866) 229-9441 or contact us online to set up an appointment.
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