Pregnancy can be a joyous time, but it can also bring up certain stresses around work. Workplace pregnancy discrimination and harassment are illegal. Unfortunately, stereotypes about pregnant women and their ability to work persist. If you face pregnancy harassment in the workplace, you should consult the New York City pregnancy harassment lawyers at Phillips & Associates.What Counts as Pregnancy Harassment?
Harassing conduct can be physical, written, or verbal. A harasser may be of either sex. He or she can be your coworker, your supervisor, a supervisor in another department, a manager, or a client or customer. Offensive remarks, jokes, improper questions, and improper touching can generate a hostile work environment. Pregnancy harassment can also involve memes, jokes, gestures, cartoons, visual images, or graffiti.
For example, if your boss asks you questions about when you became pregnant and what birth control you are using, this may create a hostile work environment. Similarly, if your coworkers make inappropriate or lewd jokes about your body or about pregnancy, or call you names, this may be pregnancy harassment. Similarly, if your manager repeatedly sends you cartoons that suggest that you cannot do your job because of “pregnancy brain,” this may be harassment. To recover damages for these harassing behaviors, they must rise to the relevant standard under city law or under state or federal laws.Standards for Pregnancy Harassment Under City Law
The New York City Human Rights Law prohibits workplace pregnancy harassment. A pregnancy harassment attorney in New York City needs to show that you were treated less well than other employees due to your pregnancy. The behavior at issue cannot be petty slights or trivial inconveniences.
If you are treated badly by a supervisor or manager because of your pregnancy, you should be able to recover damages. For example, if you receive offensive remarks about your pregnancy and improper questions about how you became pregnant from your supervisor, you may have a claim for pregnancy harassment.Federal and State Laws
Federal and state laws also prohibit pregnancy harassment in the workplace, but the standard to recover damages is higher. The federal law that prohibits pregnancy harassment is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The state law that prohibits pregnancy harassment is the New York State Human Rights Law. Under these laws, you will need to show that the harassing conduct was severe or pervasive enough to make the work environment hostile or abusive. For example, if your coworkers made cruel remarks about your body during pregnancy each day for weeks, and when you complained to your boss, he remarked that it must be your pregnancy hormones making you oversensitive and that you need to be more of a team player, a New York City pregnancy harassment attorney can help you bring a claim under state or federal laws. Similarly, if your supervisor calls you a pregnant hag and gives you poor performance evaluations for no reason because of your pregnancy, this would likely be considered severe enough to constitute pregnancy harassment.Retaliation
You may fear letting HR know about pregnancy harassment that you are experiencing. Under local, state, and federal laws, you are protected against retaliation. The greatest protection is available under the New York City Human Rights Law. To show unlawful retaliation under this law, you will need to prove that you engaged in a protected activity such as complaining about pregnancy harassment, your employer was aware of this, your employer engaged in actions that were reasonably likely to deter someone from engaging in that protected activity, and there was a causal connection between the protected activity and the retaliatory conduct. For example, if you told your supervisor that your coworkers were making cruel remarks about your body during pregnancy, and your supervisor decided to move you to an unfavorable department with no promotion opportunities, this is likely to be viewed as retaliation under the city law.Consult a Pregnancy Harassment Lawyer in New York City
If you are dealing with pregnancy harassment in the workplace, you should consult an employment attorney. Phillips & Associates represents workers in Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Staten Island, along with Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Contact us at (212) 248-7431 or via our online form.
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