Pregnancy Discrimination During COVID-19
New York City Lawyers Advocating for Women in the Workplace
Many employers are not sure how to handle the requests of employees who are in high-risk categories for COVID-19. Pregnant workers, for instance, may need reasonable accommodations to work during the pandemic. As a pregnant worker, you should not be mistreated for requesting reasonable accommodations due to the increased risks associated with COVID-19. If you are concerned about pregnancy discrimination during COVID-19, you should consult a seasoned employment law attorney. At Phillips & Associates, our New York City pregnancy discrimination lawyers can help you if you feel you have been treated differently during Covid-19 because of your pregnancy.
Risks for Pregnant Women During COVID-19
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that pregnant women with COVID-19 are more likely to be hospitalized, and are at increased risk for being admitted to the ICU and receiving mechanical ventilation. As a consequence, your health care provider may recommend accommodations, or you may wish to have accommodations, due to your pregnancy during COVID-19. You should not be treated adversely due to your pregnancy, nor should you be treated adversely for requesting a reasonable accommodation.
Pregnancy Discrimination During COVID-19
Pregnancy discrimination is prohibited under federal Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the New York State Human Rights Law, and the New York City Human Rights Law. It occurs if an employee is treated adversely in the terms or conditions of employment based on her pregnancy. Adverse employment actions can include failure to hire, termination, failure to promote, demotion, disparate pay, or harassment. For example, if your employer terminates you because you are pregnant during COVID-19, this may be actionable employment discrimination. Similarly, if your employer refuses to allow you to return you to work because you are pregnant while others have been called back, this could also constitute actionable employment discrimination.
Reasonable accommodations are changes made to a work schedule or work duties to accommodate an employee’s needs and allow him or her to do the job. Federal, state, and local laws may provide a basis to request a reasonable accommodation related to your pregnancy during COVID-19. The New York City Human Rights Law provides the strongest protection in most circumstances. Under the city law, employers need to make reasonable accommodations for workers based on their pregnancy, childbirth, childbirth recovery, or medical conditions related to their pregnancy or childbirth. An employer can deny you this leave only if it would present an undue hardship.
There is usually less protection under federal law than there is under the city law, but there may be circumstances in which it is appropriate to pursue a claim under federal law as well as state or city law. An experienced attorney can look at your situation. Under federal law, if you are temporarily unable to perform your job due to a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth, your employer is supposed to treat you in the same way as it treats other temporarily disabled employees. For example, it may need to give you light duty, disability leave, an alternative assignment, or unpaid leave, if it provides those accommodations for other temporarily disabled employees.
If you suffer from a disability resulting from pregnancy during COVID-19 that meets the definition of a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), your employer may be required to provide a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. You should not face discrimination for requesting an ADA accommodation for a pregnancy-related disability.
Depending on the circumstances, you may also be entitled to leave based on your pregnancy under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Only employers with at least 50 employees are covered by the FMLA. If you are eligible for FMLA leave during COVID-19 due to your pregnancy, you should not face discrimination or retaliation for taking the leave, and you should be reinstated into your prior position.
Consult a Seasoned Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer in New York City
If you were harmed by pregnancy discrimination during COVID-19, you should call the New York City attorneys at Phillips & Associates. We are seasoned trial attorneys who represent pregnant workers in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island, as well as Long Island, Westchester County, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Call us at (866) 229-9441 or complete our online form.
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