Although many things may change for a worker during a pregnancy, the law recognizes that no employee should be penalized for becoming pregnant. Pregnant workers should be able to continue in their jobs without fear of being unfairly terminated or being denied the ability to go to a doctor's appointment or work from home because a physician has ordered bed rest. Federal, state, and local laws provide remedies for workers who face pregnancy discrimination. Emre Polat is an experienced New York City pregnancy discrimination lawyer who represents both employees and employers, and he can bring insights to bear on either side of an employment lawsuit in New York or New Jersey.Pregnancy Discrimination
The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) amends Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Employers must treat women who are affected by pregnancy or a medical condition related to pregnancy in the same way that they would treat other job applicants or employees who are similar in being able or unable to work.
In other words, employers may not fail to hire a female job applicant due to pregnancy or a related condition as long as she can perform major job duties. They may not indulge biases or indulge the biases of the worker's coworkers, customers, or clients. For example, a management consulting firm may not reassign a qualified female consultant from a more favorable client to a less favorable client because she is pregnant and the more favorable client is biased against women who are pregnant.
Unless all employees similar in their ability to work are required to undergo medical clearance procedures, an employer may not require a pregnant employee to get medical clearance. For example, if a worker with a broken leg must submit a doctor's statement about being unable to work in order to get leave, an employer may require the same for a pregnant worker. However, if other temporarily disabled workers get sick benefits without a doctor's note, an employer may not require a pregnant worker to produce a doctor's note. As long as a pregnant employee is able to perform a job, she must be allowed to work. Employers are required to hold a job open when a pregnancy leave is taken for the same amount of time that the job would have been held open for an employee taking a temporary disability or sick leave.
The PDA, the New York Human Rights Law, the New York City Human Rights Law, and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination all prohibit pregnancy discrimination with regard to any aspect of the job, including what a worker is paid, whether a worker is hired or promoted, whether a worker receives training, whether fringe benefits are offered, and whether the worker is fired or laid off. Each law has its own nuances, and it is important to consult an experienced pregnancy discrimination attorney in New York City about whether you may have a claim based on your specific situation.
Medical conditions arising from pregnancy may be considered disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act or state anti-discrimination laws. Employers may be required to provide a reasonable accommodation for a pregnant worker. Generally, state laws provide greater protection to employees asking for reasonable accommodations related to their pregnancies. Employer health insurance is supposed to cover pregnancy-related conditions in the same way that it covers other medical expenses, with an exception for ordinary abortions.
Under the New York City Human Rights Law, which provides some of the strongest protections for employees, employers must accommodate reasonable requests from employees related to giving birth, pregnancy, or related medical conditions, whether or not they are considered "disabled" under the ADA. Reasonable accommodations may include changes in breaks, allowing them to sit, providing light duty, transferring workers to a less hazardous or strenuous position, or permitting unpaid leave to recover from labor and delivery. To deny an accommodation, an employer must be able to show that it would create an undue hardship or that the employee cannot satisfy the basic job requirements even when given a reasonable accommodation.Discuss Your Pregnancy Discrimination Case with a New York City Lawyer
Pregnant employees should not need to choose between working and having a family. Pregnancy discrimination lawsuits often become complicated, and it is important to retain a New York City pregnancy discrimination attorney to advocate for you. An aggressive attorney can make sure that your rights are protected. Emre Polat is an experienced litigator in both New York and New Jersey, and has worked for both a plaintiff's firm and a defense firm. He represents employees who have been discrimated against or treaty unfairly because of their pregnancy in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island, as well as in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties and in New Jersey. Call us at (212) 480-4500 or use our online form to schedule an appointment with a gender discrimination lawyer.