I have a lot of clients that have situations where they inform their employer that they're pregnant and then are immediately terminated. It doesn't have to be that obvious. A lot of times an employer won't take the immediate action of terminating an employee, but they'll do other things. Like, for example, reducing their hours right away. Some of the times those productions can be dramatic. They might change their performance reviews. For example, an employee who's an excellent employee had incredible performance reviews is all of a sudden being met with negative performance reviews, and negative paper trail to ultimately end up terminating them. Or they're just not treated the same way, they come back to an employer, and they're not held in the same type of regard. That can go a hand-in-hand with something called familial discrimination or caregiver discrimination, where the employer feels that because an employee now has a child, they're no longer able to perform their duties to same degree. Our goal is to help women throughout New York, and New Jersey battle the pervasive pregnancy discrimination that's occurring. I take pride in being able to help clients who come to us.
Pregnancy Discrimination Attorneys Assisting Residents of New York City
We have many clients who have faced the problem of telling their employer that they are pregnant and then being terminated. In some cases, the termination is not obvious. Instead of firing the employee, the employer may reduce the employee's hours right away or alter their performance reviews. An employee who has always had excellent performance reviews may suddenly face a negative performance review or paper trail, which is being established to create an excuse to fire them. At Phillips and Associates, our New York City pregnancy discrimination lawyers can talk to you about what is considered discriminatory and help you with your situation.
What is Considered Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace?
Sometimes the change after notifying an employer of a pregnancy or becoming visibly pregnant is more subtle. It may be the case that you receive less mentoring or are not held in the same type of regard. Often, employers believe that once an employee has a child, they will no longer be able to keep up with their work performance. Federal, state, and local laws all prohibit pregnancy discrimination, but there are some differences in how this issue is handled.
The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and only applies to companies with at least 15 employees. It applies to employees at these companies who are pregnant, suffer from a pregnancy-related illness, or have just given birth. Under this law, your employer is not allowed to treat you differently and adversely in terms of hiring, firing, promotions, demotions, compensation, or fringe benefits.
Under the PDA, your employer is not allowed to alter the terms and conditions of your employment because you have just given birth or are starting to show that you are pregnant. Assuming that the employer provides leave to other temporarily disabled workers, such as those with a broken bone, the employer should also provide you with leave. The employer is also supposed to give you health insurance that covers your pregnancy-related conditions on the same basis as it covers expenses for other medical concerns. However, there is an exception for abortion, unless there is a medical complication associated with the employer.
Family and Medical Leave Act
Pregnancy discrimination may also involve terminating or treating unfavorably an employee who is entitled to Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave. This law gives new parents 12 weeks of leave if their employer is covered and they are eligible. Eligibility depends on working for an FMLA-covered employer for a year before you take the leave. However, the FMLA only applies to large employers with 50 or more employees, and other conditions apply.
New York State Human Rights Law
The New York State Human Rights Law now defines a pregnancy-related condition as a disability and requires employers to give employees reasonable accommodations for any condition related to pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes or pubic symphysis. There is an exception for situations in which the accommodation places an undue burden on the company. It is discrimination for an employer to refuse to give you a reasonable accommodation for a pregnancy-related condition unless it can show an undue hardship.
New York City Human Rights Law
Pregnancy discrimination claims are often brought under the New York City Human Rights Law. This law provides the broadest protection against pregnancy discrimination in most cases. The law specifies that a violation may consist of firing or refusing to hire or promote someone because they are pregnant, or it may consist of failing to accommodate reasonable requests by employees related to childbirth, pregnancy, or a related condition.
Consult an Aggressive Employment Attorney in New York City
Our experienced New York City lawyers may be able to help you if you are concerned that you may have suffered from pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. Contact us online or call us at (866) 229-9441 for a free appointment with a discrimination or retaliation lawyer. We battle employment discrimination in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island, in addition to Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties and New Jersey.