Phillips & Associates

Westchester County Pregnancy Discrimination

Employment Attorneys Representing Workers in Westchester County

As of 2017, Westchester County was home to nearly a million residents. Over a third of the households had minor children living in them, showing that many people in the area raise families. Unfortunately, some workplaces are run by people who are biased against pregnant workers. However, pregnancy discrimination is prohibited under both federal and state laws. Pregnancy discrimination happens when a woman who is pregnant is treated negatively at her job due to her intention to get pregnant, her actual pregnancy, or her childbirth. If you have faced pregnancy discrimination on the job, you should consult the Westchester County pregnancy discrimination lawyers at Phillips & Associates about whether you may have a viable claim against your employer.

The Federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act

You are protected from pregnancy discrimination even when you are applying for jobs under both the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which is part of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the New York State Human Rights Law. It is illegal for a prospective employer not to hire you because you are pregnant or to make other adverse employment decisions against you due to your pregnancy, such as firing you, paying you less, not paying you a bonus, assigning you to undesirable job assignments, refusing to provide you with training, or not offering you fringe benefits that are offered to other similar employees who are not pregnant.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act applies to employers that have at least 15 employees. Federal law requires employers to treat workers who are disabled due to a pregnancy-related disability in the same way as they would treat employees who have other types of temporary disabilities. For example, if you need to be on bed rest for the last few weeks of your pregnancy, due to preeclampsia, and your boss has given a worker suffering from pneumonia two weeks’ unpaid leave, your boss is also supposed to give you unpaid leave for the preeclampsia. Similarly, it may be the case that if another employee has been reassigned to desk duty due to a broken leg, your employer should reassign you to desk duty or other sedentary work if you are suffering from pubic symphysis. A pregnancy discrimination attorney can advise Westchester County residents on the specific accommodations that may be appropriate.

If your employer does not treat you in the same way as other temporarily disabled workers when you are temporarily disabled due to pregnancy-related conditions, it may be liable for damages under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Similarly, an employer can be held liable for pregnancy harassment. Your employer should not permit you to be harassed because you are pregnant, have a pregnancy-related medical condition, or are going through labor or childbirth. When harassment based on your pregnancy is so severe or so frequent that it causes you to experience an adverse employment decision, such as a wrongful termination, or it creates a hostile work environment, you can potentially recover damages.

The New York State Human Rights Law

You may be protected under the New York State Human Rights Law if your employer has at least four employees. Generally, the state law provides greater protection than the federal law. Our Westchester County pregnancy discrimination attorneys can help you determine which law better fits your situation. Under state law, your employer cannot force you to take leave or not work unless your pregnancy incapacitates you such that you cannot reasonably do your job. Your employer is not supposed to take any adverse employment action against you because you are pregnant, and if you request a reasonable accommodation for a pregnancy-related condition, the employer should provide it unless giving you the accommodation would unduly burden the employer. Pregnancy-related medical conditions are those that inhibit the exercise of normal bodily functions or that can be shown through medically accepted methods. However, a pregnancy-related condition must be one that does not prevent you from performing your job in a reasonable manner.

FMLA Issues

Depending on the size of the employer and other eligibility criteria, pregnant employees are also protected under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Employers need to have at least 50 employees to be covered by the FMLA. If you have just given birth, work for a covered employer, and also meet other criteria, you may be eligible for taking 12 weeks of leave to take care of the baby. Your employer is not allowed to discriminate against you for taking FMLA leave.

Consult a Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer in Westchester County

At Phillips & Associates, our experienced attorneys help people who have faced pregnancy discrimination in Westchester County. If you believe that you have been a victim of pregnancy discrimination, contact us at (212) 248-7431 or through our online form to set up a free consultation. We represent clients in Yonkers, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, and White Plains.

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