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Pregnancy Discrimination Laws

Workplace Rights Lawyers Assisting New York City Employees

A woman should not be penalized in the workplace due to her decision to expand her family. Federal, state, and local laws prohibit pregnancy discrimination. Each of these laws is slightly different. If you suspect that your employer has violated a pregnancy discrimination law, you should consult an experienced New York City pregnancy discrimination attorney. At Phillips & Associates, we understand the different laws and what they demand of employers covered by them, and we can help you navigate these laws to obtain a reasonable accommodation or file a lawsuit for damages.

Pregnancy Discrimination Laws at Federal, State, and City Levels

The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits pregnancy discrimination by employers that have at least 15 employees. It amends Title VII and makes pregnancy discrimination a form of unlawful sex discrimination. An employer covered by Title VII is not supposed to discriminate based on an employee's pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical problem connected to these. They are supposed to be treated in the same way as other job applicants or employees who are similarly able or unable to work. This means that if an employer would allow an employee with a fractured femur an accommodation, such as an unpaid leave, the same should be given to a pregnant employee who is disabled by a medical condition related to pregnancy, such as pubic symphysis or preeclampsia.

Under the New York State Human Rights Law, pregnancy discrimination is prohibited as well. The state law applies to employers that have at least four employees. It mandates that covered employers provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees. In this context, reasonable accommodations are actions that allow an employee or job applicant to perform the duties of their job. They can include modifications to equipment, a more accessible worksite, job restructuring, or a modified work schedule. The employer can only avoid providing the reasonable accommodation by showing that it presents an undue hardship for the business. You will need to cooperate by providing the employer with medical or other information needed to verify that an accommodation is necessary.

New York City provides even greater protections for pregnant women and women going through childbirth or pregnancy-related conditions under the New York City Human Rights Law. Pregnant employees are often denied basic accommodations in the workplace, including minor changes to schedules or breaks, and they may be passed up for promotions and other job benefits because of their pregnancies. Under the New York City Human Rights Law, it is illegal to fire, refuse to hire, or refuse to promote an employee who is pregnant. Employers are expected to provide reasonable accommodations to job applicants or employees when the accommodation is based on childbirth, pregnancy, or a related medical condition. This can include a minor alteration to a work schedule, permitting a pregnant worker to drink or snack as necessary and at her desk, more flexible rest breaks, arrangements for light duty, transfers to other available positions that are less dangerous, and allowing for unpaid leave to recover from childbirth.

An employer that wishes to refuse to provide an accommodation must be able to show that it is an undue hardship to provide the accommodation or that you would not be able to satisfy the essential job prerequisites even if you are given a reasonable accommodation. Additionally, if you are undergoing fertility treatment, have had a miscarriage or abortion, or are breastfeeding, you are also entitled to reasonable accommodations, including a more flexible schedule to go to fertility appointments.

When you ask for a reasonable accommodation based on childbirth, pregnancy, or a related condition, your employer is required to start and engage in a cooperative dialogue about which accommodations can be given and would be appropriate. Your employer should not retaliate against you for asking for this accommodation. The New York City law does not allow your employer to require a doctor's note prior to granting a minor accommodation, such as more flexibility with regard to snacking or keeping a water bottle at your desk.

Discuss Your Needs with a Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer in New York City

Our New York City attorneys believe that pregnant workers should have the same rights as others in the workplace, and they should be able to advance in their careers. We are familiar with pregnancy discrimination laws and can help you pursue remedies under the appropriate law. Call us at (833) 529-3476 or contact us via our online form for a free consultation with an attorney. We fight pregnancy discrimination in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan, as well as in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties and in New Jersey.

What Our Clients Say?
"Phillips & Associates did a wonderful job. I would recommend Brittany Stevens." Angel
"Employment dispute I had a dispute with my former employer, Jesse Weinstein was patient and thorough with my case. He covered every angle and was able to help me with my dispute. I would recommend Jesse Weinstein and Phillips and Associates in the future to anyone." Margaret
"Hands down the best law firm for labor disputes in NYC. Being in the restaurant industry for more than 30 years I can say that this law firm is the number one choice for workers in the restaurant business that need to sue their company for wrongful termination. A special compliment to my lawyer Brittany Stevens. An amazing person and well prepared experienced lawyer. She was professional and empathetic to my case and worked in a time appropriate manner. She never miss a phone call at any hour of the day. Brittany and her team helped me with what I needed, when I needed it. I want to thank them all (especially Brittany), for a job well done." Massimo
"Jesse Weinstein handled my discrimination case. He was extremely patient and understanding throughout the process and remained professional and consistent even when I could not. I really felt like he had my back and I didn't have to worry. His expertise, combined with the experience of the Firm, resulted in the best possible outcome of my case. Although I wouldn't wish what I went through on anyone, things do and always will happen and I would highly recommend Jesse and this Firm to anyone facing discrimination or other workplace issues." Karen
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