Becoming pregnant and having a child is a beautiful experience for most mothers. Unfortunately, at times, employers may discriminate against pregnant employees in a variety of ways. This is unacceptable, and if you are facing such discrimination, you need a New York pregnancy discrimination lawyer in your corner. Contact Bell Law Group, PLLC today.
Pregnancy Discrimination in New York State | Our Lawyers Will Fight for You
Even though New York State, New York City, and the Federal Government all have laws that protect pregnant women in the workplace, discrimination is still prevalent in society. While the primary laws are similar between the three, they each have unique characteristics which separate them. If you believe you were or are currently being discriminated against because of your pregnancy, you can turn to a knowledgeable New York discrimination lawyer from our firm to fight for you.
Laws Preventing Pregnancy Discrimination in NYS
In New York State, it is illegal for an employer to fire a woman (or change the conditions in which she works) because she is pregnant. Additionally, it is illegal for an employee to refuse to hire a woman because she is pregnant. Overall, at the state level, the New York State Human Rights Law prohibits employment discrimination based on “familial status” (including pregnancy).
In 2016, a law was passed that put in place special accommodations for pregnancy-related conditions: occasional breaks to rest or drink water, a modified work schedule, leave for related medical needs, available light-duty assignments, and transfers away from hazardous duty. Lastly, you are guaranteed the right to return to work post-pregnancy, and your employer cannot fire you because of your maternal leave.
Laws Preventing Pregnancy Discrimination in NYC
In New York City, the New York Commission on Human Rights Legal Enforcement stated that it is unlawful for one to be discriminated against in the workplace, public facilities, a home, etc., based on pregnancy or preconceived pregnancy. Additionally, the NYCHRL addresses discrimination expressly by stating it is prohibited for an employee to be discriminated against because of their “sexual and reproductive health decisions” (including the decision to have children). It wasn’t until 2014 that legislation was passed that removed the prior law stating a woman had to “show that their conditions amounted to a temporary disability” to take a leave from work.
New York City legislation incorporates all accommodations set forth by New York State. It also includes a separate section that clarifies pregnancy cannot be treated as a disability. A worker does not need to prove there is extreme danger (or condition) permitting them from working during their pregnancy. The reasoning for this addition was that a large majority of the employed pregnant women were working late into their pregnancy, and many families became reliant on the mother’s income to keep their family stable. They needed to have a source of income while still keeping their health (and their child’s health) safe.
Federal Laws Protecting Pregnant Employees
Although federal laws are not as all-encompassing as NYS and NYC laws, the US Department of Labor requires employers to provide reasonable break time for an employee to rest and express breast milk for her nursing child for up to one year after the child’s birth. Back in 2018, the federal Break Time for Nursing Mothers law created a law that required employers to officially provide basic accommodations for breastfeeding mothers at work. This law was covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The accommodations include time for women to express milk, and a private space (that is not a bathroom) to do so in.
Contact a Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer Today
If you or anyone you know are experiencing pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, feel free to contact us today. The consultation is free and always confidential. Our legal team is here to fight for your right to raise a family and maintain gainful employment. We are on your side, and will be through each phase of the legal process ahead.