Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnant Workers
If you have been disabled by your pregnancy or a condition related to your pregnancy, you may have grounds to request a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA requires covered employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities that would allow them to perform the tasks of their jobs. At Phillips & Associates, our New York City pregnancy discrimination lawyers can help you pursue a reasonable accommodation or bring a lawsuit on your behalf if you have been denied this type of request.Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnant Workers
Some pregnant workers may become disabled as a result of a pregnancy-related medical condition. Some conditions that may be disabling include gestational diabetes, placenta previa, preeclampsia, and pregnancy-related carpal tunnel syndrome. If you become disabled as a result of a condition related to your pregnancy, you are entitled to request a reasonable accommodation from your employer.
Under the federal ADA, reasonable accommodations are changes in the workplace or how things are done on the job that would allow an individual who is disabled to apply for a job, perform essential functions of the job, or enjoy the benefits of employment. Employers are only permitted to deny a worker a reasonable accommodation if it would cause an undue hardship. Undue hardships are situations that present significant expenses or difficulties.
Pregnant workers who are disabled due to a pregnancy-related condition may need a wide range of reasonable accommodations, including reassignment of non-essential job duties, modification of workplace policies, modified work schedules, special equipment or devices, leave, or temporary assignment to a position with lighter duties.
A pregnant worker who wants to show disparate treatment under the ADA needs to show that she is a member of a protected class, that her employer refused to give her a reasonable accommodation, and that the employer provided accommodations to others who were also unable to perform their duties without accommodations. Then, the burden shifts to the employer to show that the refusal to give the accommodation was based on a non-discriminatory and legitimate reason.
The New York State Human Rights Law now defines pregnant-related conditions as disabilities and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers for a pregnancy-related medical condition unless providing the accommodation would present an undue burden. The employee must provide the employer with any medical information needed to verify the condition. As with the ADA, employers and employees engage in an individualized deliberative process to determine a suitable and feasible accommodation.
In some cases, a pregnant worker needs to take leave due to a pregnancy-related condition. This may be considered a reasonable accommodation. Moreover, if you are covered by the Family Medical Leave Act, you may be able to obtain leave under that law. The FMLA covers employers with 50 or more employees in 20 or more workweeks during the prior calendar year. Eligible employees may take up to 12 weeks of leave during a year to care for a newborn or when they are unable to work due to a serious medical condition. For example, if you are eligible under the FMLA, you could potentially obtain leave if a doctor put you on bed rest. During that time, your employer would need to maintain your existing level of insurance coverage.Seek Guidance from a Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer in New York City
If you are a pregnant employee who is denied a reasonable accommodation in your workplace, you should consult a New York City pregnancy discrimination attorney as soon as possible. At Phillips & Associates, we provide tenacious representation to people who need a gender discrimination or sexual harassment lawyer. Contact us at (212) 248-7431 or through our online form to set up a free consultation. We fight for the rights of employees throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island.
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