Phillips & Associates

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 (212) 248-7431 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.

45 Broadway, #620,
New York NY, 10006
Tel: 212-248-7431
Fax: 212-901-2107
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