What Are Reasonable Accommodations of Pregnant Workers?

Individuals who learn they're pregnant and they reveal their pregnancy in the workplace can potentially benefit not only from sex discrimination laws, but also from disability laws if their pregnancy has been deemed a disability and they have a doctor's note that they can provide to their employer. At that point, if they request a reasonable accommodation such as if they need shorter hours in order to attend doctor's appointments or if they cannot stand for a certain number of hours at a time, if it is reasonable, an employer should make those accommodations for the employee. If you're denied a reasonable accommodation, the employer would have to at least engage in the interactive process and find out whether there is another accommodation that they can provide you with in order for you to continue working safely in the work environment. If you believe that you've been discriminated against at work on the basis of your pregnancy and you've been denied a reasonable accommodation, please contact Phillips & Associates and we will schedule a time to speak with you and assist you in your matter.

New York City Lawyers Helping Victims of Pregnancy Discrimination

If you find out that you are pregnant and reveal your pregnancy, either through words or through becoming visibly pregnant, you may be helped by sex discrimination and possibly disability laws. Whether you are considered disabled by pregnancy depends on whether the pregnancy has been deemed a disability and whether you have a doctor's note that you can give to your employer. If you ask for a reasonable accommodation as a pregnant worker, your employer should provide it for you. At Phillips & Associates, our New York City pregnancy discrimination lawyers may be able to help you if you believe that you have been denied a reasonable accommodation.

What Are Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnant Workers?

It is unlawful for employers to discriminate against you because you are pregnant, have given birth, or have a related medical condition. One form of discrimination is an employer that denies you a reasonable accommodation for your pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition. Others would be termination or denial of a promotion for requesting a reasonable accommodation, assuming that you are qualified.

Reasonable accommodations that it may be possible for you to request in New York City might include:

  • More frequent rest or bathroom breaks,
  • The ability to carry a water bottle with you,
  • Light duty,
  • Help with manual labor,
  • Alterations to the physical work space,
  • A clean space to express milk,
  • Disability leave,
  • Paid leave,
  • Alternative assignments, or
  • Time off to see a doctor more frequently.

Federal Law

Under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, certain impairments caused by pregnancy, such as preeclampsia or gestational diabetes, may be considered disabilities for which reasonable accommodations must be provided, unless an undue hardship is shown. Although amendments to this law have made it easier to show that a pregnancy-related medical condition is a disability, it may be wiser to bring your claim under state or local laws.

State Law

Under state law, if you ask for a pregnancy-related accommodation, you are supposed to give the employer the medical information necessary to verify that a pregnancy-related condition exists. Whenever an accommodation is requested by a disabled employee, employers are supposed to get involved in an individual deliberative process to investigate whether the accommodation that you requested is feasible. State law also requires an employer to give a breastfeeding employee a reasonable accommodation. The employer must provide reasonable unpaid breaks or give the employee an opportunity to use break time to express breast milk each day for up

to three years after giving birth. Employers are also supposed to provide a private room for breastfeeding employees to nurse their babies or pump as appropriate. You are not supposed to be subjected to discrimination for choosing to pump on the job.

City Law

Under the New York City Human Rights Law, your employer is supposed to provide the reasonable accommodation that you request unless to do so would present an undue hardship. Even then, your employer is supposed to engage in an interactive process in good faith and determine whether there is another reasonable accommodation that would be appropriate so that you can keep working safely.

Under the New York City Human Rights Law Section 8-107(22)(b)(i), employers are supposed to pass out or conspicuously post a written notice that was developed by the Commission about your right as a pregnant worker to be free from discrimination in the workplace. This posting advises your employer to work with you to agree on a reasonable accommodation that values your contributions, allows you to satisfy essential job functions, keeps you working as long as you are able and want to keep working, and is appropriate for your employer and does not present an undue hardship in conducting business. If an employer ignores a request for a reasonable accommodation or terminates you after you ask for it, it may be possible to recover damages.

Contact a New York City Attorney for Knowledgeable Representation

Our experienced New York City lawyers can advise you on protections available to you if you have been denied or have had trouble getting reasonable accommodations as a pregnant worker. Contact us online or at (866) 229-9441 for a free appointment with a disability rights attorney. We battle employment discrimination in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island, the Bronx, and Queens, as well as Suffolk, Nassau, and Westchester Counties and New Jersey.