How will my pregnancy be handled at work?
For many people, becoming pregnant is a joyous event. However, those people who are able to bear children can very often experience discrimination on the job, for a variety of reasons. If you are experiencing unequal or unfair treatment due to your pregnancy, or to complications resulting from your pregnancy, neither federal law nor state law (nor New York City law, for that matter) permits it. Talking to an attorney can help clarify your options.
You Have The Right To Work
Historically, pregnancy was seen as a facet of gender discrimination, but over time it has been seen as its own form of mistreatment, with a mix of gender-related and disability-related overtones. The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) allows pregnant employees to be classed as temporarily disabled, which requires that they be accommodated the same way as any other temporarily disabled employee. This is mirrored in turn by New York State law, but state law actually covers more people – the PDA only applies to employers with 15 or more employees, while the state law applies to those with 4 or more.
In New York, you are not actually obligated to disclose your pregnancy to your employer unless it interferes with your ability to perform your job duties. Even then, you may be able to perform your job with reasonable accommodations. However, too often employers see a pregnancy as a way to push out a female worker (or a transgender worker), thinking they will be a less able or involved employee after the birth of a child. In reality, if your employer simply refuses to accommodate you, or otherwise pushes you to stop working, you may be able to file a charge of discrimination.
More Protections In New York State
Generally, a pregnant employee is entitled to reasonable accommodations, just as any other disabled worker would be under the Americans With Disabilities Act. New York State law explicitly protects a pregnant worker’s rights to reasonable accommodations for pregnancy-related issues, including medical leave, breaks, or possible light duty if necessary, on the basis of temporary disability. The Human Rights Law also states that if an employee must take leave due to pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition, their employer must hold their job open for as long as they would for an employee on leave for other reasons.
New York City’s Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act goes even further – it requires employers to provide accommodations simply because they are pregnant, with no disability-related reason necessary. A note from a medical professional is required for a major accommodation, but for a minor alteration in routine that will clearly not cause any burden to your employer, it generally has to be accommodated. If you are not being accommodated at work, or otherwise being pushed into different work or forced out of the company, it is crucial that you seek out a knowledgeable attorney to help you determine how to handle the matter.
Contact A New York City Employment Discrimination Attorney
Someone who is pregnant should not have to worry about whether or not they will have a job after giving birth. If you are pregnant and have been discriminated against due to your condition, contacting a New York City employment discrimination attorney at Mansell Law, LLC can be the first step toward seeking redress. Call our offices today at 646-921-8900 for a free consultation.