Pregnancy Discrimination

New York Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyers

Facing Pregnancy Discrimination?  We Can Help.  

Becoming pregnant and having a baby should be an exciting time for you and your family. However, what happens if you face unfair treatment in the workplace because of your pregnancy?  You have rights in such a situation.

It is illegal for employers to discriminate against you based on your pregnancy.  All employees deserve to be treated fairly when it comes to job security, pay, benefits, and leave – even when you become pregnant.

Here’s what you need to know about pregnancy discrimination in the workplace and what you can do if you face pregnancy discrimination from your employer.

What is Pregnancy Discrimination?

Pregnancy Discrimination takes is any statement or action an employer makes that mistreats pregnant women in the workplace.  The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits discrimination with regards to hiring, firing, compensation, job duties, benefits, promotions, leave, or insurance for pregnant employees.

Unfortunately, many employers still do not get it when it comes to pregnancy discrimination.   According to a 2019 New York Times article, complaints of pregnancy discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is at an all-time high.  If you believe that you may be a victim of pregnancy discrimination, the best thing you can do is speak with an experienced pregnancy discrimination attorney at White, Hilferty & Albanese to learn how we can protect your rights.

Understanding the Pregnancy Discrimination Act

Pregnancy discrimination in the workplace is illegal. The Federal laws which prohibit pregnancy discrimination are Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which includes the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act covers many forms of sex discrimination in regard to hiring, firing, work responsibilities, work conditions, promotions, benefits, training, and more.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act clarifies that discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions is also a form of sex discrimination. This act requires that a pregnant employee must be treated no differently than a non-pregnant employee, as long as they are able to do their work.

What does the Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibit?

The PDA prohibits “workplace discrimination “on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.”  Under this Federal statute, employers are prohibited from mistreating pregnant women in the workplace. These acts of discrimination include:

  • Not hiring a woman because she is pregnant or may become pregnant
  • Firing or demoting a pregnant employee because she is pregnant
  • Denying a pregnant employee time off for medical appointments
  • Not providing paid or unpaid leave that would otherwise be provided to other employees

If you feel that you may be a victim of pregnancy discrimination in New York, contact a trusted pregnancy discrimination lawyer.  

Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace

Pregnancy discrimination at work is not acceptable, as everyone deserves fair treatment, benefits, and compensation for their work. 

Some women find that potential employers turn them down for a job when they find out they are pregnant or are planning on having kids. Other women may become pregnant and get told that they are at risk of losing their jobs. 

This kind of treatment is illegal. Learn to recognize the signs of pregnancy discrimination so you can seek the justice you deserve.

Types of Pregnancy Discrimination at Work

There are various types of pregnancy discrimination that can occur in the workplace. Here are a few examples of pregnancy discrimination at the workplace:

Hiring Discrimination

Pregnancy hiring discrimination occurs when a potential employer asks a woman whether the she pregnant or may become pregnant and considers this information during the hiring process. For one, these questions are a form of Gender Discrimination and are illegal. Second, your desire to have children should not play a role in whether you are considered for a job. You cannot be refused work because of your existing pregnancy or desire to have children.

Promotion Discrimination

A woman may experience pregnancy promotion discrimination if she is denied a promotion due to her existing pregnancy or desire to become pregnant. A woman’s pregnancy should not be considered a factor when it comes to earning or being denied a promotion.

Unequal Pay Discrimination

Many women face pay discrimination if an employer discovers that the woman is pregnant or may become pregnant. All employees deserve equal pay for equal experience and work. It is illegal to be paid less than your counterparts simply due to your pregnancy.

Wrongful Termination

A woman may not be fired because she is pregnant or may become pregnant. If you feel like you may have been fired due to your pregnancy or any medical condition related to your pregnancy, seek out a pregnancy discrimination lawyer. 

Sexual Harassment

Everyone has the right to feel safe and respected at work. Becoming pregnancy does not grant your coworkers or employers the right to harass you or treat you unfairly. If you are facing unwanted touching, advances, or comments because of your pregnancy, this may be a sign of sexual harassment.

Maternity Leave Rights in New York

Pregnancy discrimination oftentimes involves maternity leave.  Both New York and Federal Law authorize twelve (12) weeks per year of Leave with paid benefits for the birth of a child and to care for that child.

Under the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), any new parents have up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave within the first year after the child is born. New York Paid Family Leave (PFL) provides an additional 10 weeks of partially paid job-protected parental leave. See Maternity Leave Rights and Paternity Laws.

Returning to Work After Pregnancy

Maternity leave is job-protected, meaning that employers must hold your position open during Leave. It is illegal for an employer to threaten you about losing your job during maternity leave. In addition, employees have rights to lactation rooms to allow for new mothers to breastfeed.

Examples of Pregnancy Discrimination at Work

Some signs of pregnancy discrimination may not be obvious because the practice is so common and pervasive. Just know that if you are made to feel uncomfortable at your place of work due to your pregnancy, this may be a sign that you are facing pregnancy discrimination or harassment.

Here are a few examples of pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace:

  • You attend a job interview and the hiring manager asks you if you plan on starting a family. When you say Yes, they start asking more personal questions and then cut the interview short. You never get a call back and you worry that it may be due to your answers to their questions.
  • You find out you are pregnant and decide to share the news with your coworkers. Your manager finds out and decides to take you off your latest project. You are confident in your ability to get the work done, but you are removed from the account anyway.
  • Your coworker, Cindy, just had a baby and sometimes has to bring her breast pump to work. Your manager tells her to “cover up” and pump in the restroom. You wonder if this is legal and question why there isn’t a safe place for Cindy to pump in the office.
  • A female employee becomes pregnant, but since the company doesn’t provide family leave, she has to use her sick and vacation time instead. However, you know that Todd just took 6 months off because of his illness due to the company’s disability plan.
  • You are 6 months pregnant and your bump is showing. A male coworker keeps making uncomfortable comments about your body. You tell him to stop, but he keeps making creepy and sexual remarks.
  • You want to start a family and you are talking to your coworker about it. Your boss overhears and says “Well, I can’t guarantee you’ll still have your job when you get back”. This sounds threatening and you question whether you have to choose between having a family or keeping your job. 

Watch the video below for more examples of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace.

New York Laws Prohibit Pregnancy Discrimination

Pregnancy Discrimination is illegal under Federal, State, and local NYC laws. According to the New York City Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), employers are required to treat pregnant women the same as other employees. 

Pregnant women are allowed to work as long as long she can perform the job. Pregnant women must be given the same modified tasks, alternative assignments, disability, or unpaid leave provided to other employees. Employers must provide reasonable accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions.

Under these laws, employers cannot:

  • Fire or demote you because you’re pregnant or planning to be pregnant
  • Slowly phase out your job duties as due date approaches
  • Threaten whether you will have the same job after maternity leave
  • Deny you time off for doctor appointments
  • Refuse reasonable work accommodations as required by your doctor

If your current or past employer has violated any of these anti-discrimination laws, it’s time to call a pregnancy discrimination lawyer at White, Hilferty & Albanese to get the justice you deserve.

Contact a Pregnancy Discrimination Attorney in New York

If you think you may be a victim of pregnancy or maternity discrimination, it’s time to protect your rights. You are covered by certain protections under the law and may even be eligible for compensation.

The pregnancy discrimination attorneys at White, Hilferty & Albanese provides legal counsel and representation on a variety of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace cases.  Contact a Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer to discuss your rights when it comes to pregnancy or maternity-related leave New York.

Schedule Your Free Legal Consultation

The pregnancy discrimination attorneys at White, Hilferty & Albanese has earned a reputation as a trusted employment discrimination law firm for employees who have been discriminated on the basis of pregnancy and maternity rights.  Call us at 646-698-8990 or Contact Us today to schedule your free consultation. 

Frequently Asked Questions – Pregnancy Discrimination

Not sure if you are experiencing pregnancy discrimination? Do you think you might have a pregnancy discrimination case against your employer? 

Check out the FAQ section below to get all your questions answered, or send us a message to contact us directly.  Call us at 646-698-8990 or Contact Us online to schedule your free consultation. 

Do I have to tell a potential employer I’m pregnant or whether I plan to have children?

No. A potential employer cannot refuse to hire you because of your pregnancy or intended pregnancy, as long as you are able to perform the responsibilities of the job.

Do I have to tell my current employer that I’m pregnant?

No. You do not have to tell your current employer that you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. However, you should notify your company of your pregnancy before you begin to show in order to have a record that your employer is aware of your pregnancy, just in case you start to experience discrimination. This way, if things do go south, you will have evidence that your employer knew about your pregnancy before taking action against you.

Can my employer deny me pregnancy leave or pregnancy-related medical leave?

No. If your company offers leave to other temporarily disabled employees, it must also grant you leave while you are disabled by your pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions.

Can my employer prevent me from working while I’m pregnant or require me to take a certain amount of leave?

No. If you are able to perform the responsibilities of your job, you must be allowed to keep your job throughout your pregnancy. If you voluntarily request a change to your job duties, then your employer must accommodate the request as they would with other temporarily disabled employees. Your employer also cannot change your job or move you to another position because they assume your pregnancy will hinder your work.

Is my employer required to pay me while I’m on maternity leave?

Unfortunately, no. Your employer is not required to pay you while you are on maternity leave unless you have accrued paid time off. The United States is one of the only countries that does not provide for paid maternity leave to women in the workplace. However, if your company does provide disability benefits to employees while they are temporarily disabled, then they must provide disability pay to you while you are temporarily disabled due to pregnancy or childbirth.

Can my employer deny me accommodations at work due to my pregnancy-related condition?

Under the PDA, your employer is required to treat a pregnant employee who is temporarily disabled by her pregnancy-related medical condition as they would another employee who requires certain accommodations for their non-pregnancy-related disability. If requested, this includes providing modified tasks, different assignments, or disability leave without pay.

If you are unable to perform certain aspects of your job, such as heavy lifting, your employer must provide accommodations (such as “light duty” tasks) to assist you.

What do I do if I am being discriminated against or denied leave because of my pregnancy?

If you are being discriminated against because of your pregnancy, it’s recommended that you seek out the help of a reliable pregnancy discrimination lawyer. That way, you’ll have a thorough understanding of your rights and will be able to determine whether you have a legal case against your employer. You may be eligible for compensation or additional protections. Contact a NYC Pregnancy Discrimination Attorney at White, Hilferty & Albanese to schedule your free consultation.  Don’t hesitate to give us a call 24/7 at 646-698-8990 or Contact Us online to schedule your consultation.