Pregnancy Discrimination in the Retail Industry
Women make up 49 percent of retail employees in New York City, and they are often subjected to mistreatment when a store or another employer finds out that they are pregnant. Pregnancy discrimination in the workplace involves an employer making adverse employment decisions because of a woman's pregnancy, childbirth, or medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. Discrimination may also include harassment related to the pregnancy. At Phillips & Associates, our New York City pregnancy discrimination lawyers provide aggressive representation to job applicants and employees who have been affected by this unlawful conduct.Pregnancy Discrimination in the Retail Industry
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act amended Title VII to prohibit discrimination based on pregnancy, whether it is a past, current, or potential pregnancy, and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth. It prohibits an employer from taking an adverse action in any aspect of employment based on pregnancy or related medical conditions, including hiring, termination or firing, promotions, demotions, health insurance benefits, and assignments. For example, an employer that fails to promote a woman to manage the sales floor because she is pregnant or undergoing fertility treatment, without regard for her capacity to perform the job, would be discriminating against the woman.
A retail employer must know that the employee is pregnant to discriminate against her. This does not necessarily mean that the woman must inform the employer of the pregnancy to be subjected to pregnancy discrimination. An employer could find out through office gossip or by witnessing pregnancy-related harassment, or it may suspect pregnancy based on the woman's appearance.
While an ordinary pregnancy may not be a disability under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), some pregnant employees in the retail industry may experience a medical condition or complication that is disabling. Preeclampsia, placenta previa, and many other medical conditions related to pregnancy may arise, and an employer covered by the ADA is supposed to provide reasonable accommodations for a disabled retail worker unless doing so would pose an undue hardship. For example, a retail worker with placenta previa might need a modified work schedule, the ability to sit while working, more frequent breaks to get off her feet, or modified nonessential work duties.
If an employee is not able to perform essential job functions for reasons associated with the pregnancy, the retailer is supposed to treat her as it would any other temporarily disabled employee under the ADA. However, New York state law provides even greater protection for pregnant employees.
The Protect Women from Pregnancy Discrimination bill amended the New York State Human Rights Law to define pregnancy-related conditions as disabilities for which a reasonable accommodation must be provided unless doing so presents an undue burden. For example, an employer should permit a pregnant retail worker to make minor changes to her work schedule to allow for additional snacking or bathroom breaks as needed. In order to deny an accommodation, the employer must show an undue hardship or establish that the employee would not be able to satisfy essential job duties even with a reasonable accommodation. Retail employees who are breastfeeding or undergoing fertility treatment are also entitled to a more flexible schedule to accommodate these activities.Enlist a New York City Lawyer to Fight Pregnancy Discrimination
If you are a pregnant employee who suffers from misconduct in the retail industry, you should consult a New York City pregnancy discrimination attorney as soon as possible. At Phillips & Associates, we provide tenacious legal representation to people whose workplace rights have been infringed. Contact us at (212) 248-7431 or through our online form to arrange a free consultation with a gender discrimination or sexual harassment attorney. We advocate for employees throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island, Long Island and Westchester.
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