Pregnancy Discrimination in the Health Care Industry
Even though the health care industry is supposed to be concerned with wellness, pregnancy discrimination by hospitals, hospices, dentists, chiropractors, and others still occurs. If you are pregnant, and your employer has fired you, demoted you, or otherwise treated you adversely because of your pregnancy or a pregnancy-related medical condition, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit for damages. At Phillips & Associates, our experienced New York City pregnancy discrimination attorneys fight for the rights of people who have been mistreated by their employers.Pregnancy Discrimination in the Health Care Industry
Many jobs in the health care industry require workers to be on their feet all day and to move patients. For that reason, some employers in the industry believe that they would be better off hiring someone who is not pregnant or who has no intention of starting a family. The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits employers from engaging in discrimination against job applicants and employees with regard to all aspects of employment. This means that, for example, a hospital may not decide not to hire a qualified woman based on her pregnancy or her intent to get pregnant. Similarly, a dentist may not deny fringe benefits to a dental assistant because she recently gave birth to a child.
If a woman is unable to perform her job on a short-term basis because of a pregnancy-related medical condition, an employer is supposed to treat her just as it would another temporarily disabled employee. For example, if the employer permits a nurse with a broken leg to take an alternative assignment while on crutches, it must also allow a pregnant nurse to take light duty or an alternative assignment as needed.
Harassment is a form of discrimination. The PDA prohibits harassment in the workplace because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a pregnancy-related medical condition. Pregnancy harassment is unlawful if it is so frequent or so severe that a reasonable person would find it creates a hostile workplace. Harassment is also prohibited if it results in an adverse employment decision, such as termination of employment. A harasser in the health care industry could be a coworker, a supervisor, or even a patient.
Medical conditions arising from pregnancy, such as pregnancy-induced hypertension or carpal tunnel, may be considered disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Your employer may not discriminate against you or retaliate against you for asking for a reasonable accommodation based on a disabling medical condition associated with pregnancy. New York State and New York City laws offer employees additional protection from pregnancy discrimination.
Reasonable accommodations in the health care industry may include light duty, schedule modifications, more frequent rest breaks, and leave. Unfortunately, certain types of accommodations, such as more leave or light duty, may present a significant hardship for some health care employers. Sometimes nurses and doctors must work particularly long shifts and lift significant weight as an essential task of the job. It can help to have an experienced attorney on your side to engage in the interactive process of asking for an accommodation under federal and New York laws.Contact a New York City Attorney for a Pregnancy Discrimination Case
As a pregnant employee experiencing wrongful treatment in the health care industry, you should be aware of your rights. At Phillips & Associates, our New York City pregnancy discrimination lawyers provide tenacious legal representation when requesting accommodations, negotiating with employers, or taking a pregnancy discrimination case to trial. Contact us at (212) 248-7431 or through our online form to schedule an appointment free of charge. Our gender discrimination and sexual harassment attorneys hold employers accountable for illegal conduct in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island, Long Island, and Westchester.
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