Pregnancy Discrimination During the Interview or Hiring Process
Expecting a child is a thrilling time in most women’s lives. Unfortunately, many employers have strong biases against hiring pregnant job applicants, assuming that they will seek months of maternity leave or be forced to miss work to care for the newborn baby immediately after being hired. Most of these sentiments are stereotypes that unfairly harm expectant mothers who are ready and able to dedicate sufficient time to a new job during this time in their lives. At Phillips & Associates, our experienced team of employment discrimination attorneys can assist pregnant women throughout New York City who have been improperly treated during a job interview or application process.Federal and State Laws Protect Pregnant Women During the Hiring Phase
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, pregnancy-based discrimination is prohibited if the employer maintains 15 employees or more. This prohibition against discriminatory conduct extends to the initial application and hiring phase. The federal laws on this subject provide victims with the ability to pursue compensatory damages against the employer and also allow them to seek punitive damages if the employer’s discrimination was intentional.
At the state level, New York State law and the New York City Human Rights Law provide broad protections for expectant mothers, especially when it comes to employment situations. These laws apply to any employer with four or more employees.
For both federal and state laws, these protections apply to all aspects of the hiring phase, including any written applications or communications with a prospective employer.
Depending on how far along a woman is in her pregnancy, it may or may not be obvious to the prospective employer that she is pregnant. If a woman is not yet showing, the employer may still ask questions with a discriminatory intent, such as whether the woman plans to start a family soon, whether she has children, or whether she wants children. If the woman is showing, the employer may ask questions about whether the applicant intends to take maternity leave after delivering the baby, or whether the applicant is arranging for immediate day care.
An employer may also have discriminatory beliefs or ideas regarding breastfeeding in the workplace, seeing it as a distraction or something that prevents the employee from attending to her job duties. The federal and state laws regarding pregnancy and sex discrimination likely would apply to this situation and protect the breastfeeding mother. Some employers are unwilling to hire expectant mothers because they know that reasonable accommodations must be provided for pregnant or breastfeeding women.Consult a New York City Attorney for a Gender Discrimination Case
If you believe that you were a victim of pregnancy discrimination during a job interview or at another stage in the application process, you may be entitled to compensation. Our experienced and compassionate team of New York City lawyers knows how difficult employment discrimination and wrongful termination can be for workers and their families. We proudly represent pregnant women in the workplace across the five boroughs, including in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx as well as in Westchester County and Long Island. Call us now at (212) 248-7431 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.