Pregnancy Discrimination

Pregnancy should be a wonderful, fulfilling life experience, but it can also raise unique issues in a woman’s work life. Federal and state law prevent discrimination based on pregnancy, and if you believe you are being treated inappropriately because of your pregnancy, you should contact the New York pregnancy discrimination lawyers at Phillips & Associates today.

Pregnancy certainly can affect your ability to work, but this depends upon the individual, the job duties, and timing. You are not required to disclose your pregnancy to your employer unless it interferes with your ability to perform your job duties. Your employer can only require you to take a leave of absence from work if you can no longer reasonably perform your job duties due to your pregnancy. When your employer treats you differently or requires you not to work simply because you are pregnant, your employer may be discriminating against you because of your pregnancy.


Pregnancy discrimination is usually based on outmoded stereotypes, and is often a form of gender discrimination. Discrimination can be evidenced by company policies, discriminatory “downsizing,” “reorganization” and other personnel decisions, and by comments like “she can’t handle the work anymore now that she is pregnant” or “a pregnant woman does not belong in the workplace.” Sometimes the discrimination is more subtle, and can be apparent in getting passed over for a promotion, denial of bonuses, and other discretionary personnel decisions.

Pregnancy discrimination affects women in a wide variety of workplaces. It is not found only at more traditionally male workplaces such as factories and construction jobs, but also in retail, office jobs, and at high levels in large corporations. In fact, women who work in high-pressure white collar jobs requiring substantial hours often face the most subtle – and most severe – forms of pregnancy discrimination.


Federal law provides several protections to pregnant workers. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), which is an amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, forbids discrimination in any aspect of employment based on pregnancy, including hiring, firing, promotions, assignments, layoffs, training, benefits, and so forth. The PDA also provides that a pregnant employee must be treated and accommodated just like any other temporarily disabled employee. The PDA applies to employers with 15 or more employees. The federal Family Medical Leave Act allows for unpaid, job-protected leave for 12 weeks for the birth of a child, for both the mother and the father. New York law provides additional protections to those who work for smaller employers. If an employer provides additional pregnancy-related benefits to employees, it must provide those benefits equally to all employees.

Do not think that you no longer have a claim because you are no longer pregnant. While statutes of limitations can be short, particularly under the PDA, you can nonetheless pursue a claim after you have given birth. It is important to protect your rights, and sometimes pregnancy discrimination can have severe, lasting effects on an individual’s compensation and opportunities for promotion.

If you are treated differently by your employer because you are pregnant, you should contact a New York pregnancy discrimination attorney. The attorneys at Phillips & Associates focus on all aspects of workplace law, and have successfully handled many workplace discrimination claims. We work on a contingency basis, which means that we do not get paid unless you do. For a free confidential consultation, contact our office today at (212) 248-7431.

45 Broadway, Suite 620,
New York NY, 10006
Tel: 212-248-7431
Fax: 212-901-2107
New York Employment Attorney Blog - Pregnancy Discrimination