Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer – New York
The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (the PDA) prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee because she is pregnant. Every aspect of the employment relationship is covered; the employer cannot discriminate against pregnant employees in hiring, firing, or promoting an employee or paying her or selecting her for layoff.
The PDA requires that “women affected by pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions shall be treated the same for all employment-related purposes … as other persons not so affected but similar in their ability or inability to work.”
If the employee is temporarily unable to work because of pregnancy or the birth of her child, she must be given the same temporary leave as any other employee who is given leave when disabled by any other medical condition.
To be covered by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act your company must have at least fifteen employees. Call (212) 868-6300 today to schedule a free consultation if you want to speak with an attorney about pregnancy discrimination.
New York City Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (the PWFA)
Employers in New York City with four or more employees cannot discriminate because of pregnancy. This law prevents an employer in New York City from forcing an employee to quit or be fired simply because she is pregnant.
Employers also have an affirmative duty to reasonably accommodate a pregnant employee’s needs so she can keep her employment while performing what the law calls the “essential duties” of her job. The “essential duties” of a job may not necessarily be everything that the employee normally does. She may also have the right to have her work location changed and to receive additional breaks so long as the accommodation is not an undue hardship on the employer. The employer has the burden of proving that the requested accommodation is too hard for the company to comply.The law protects pregnant workers. The very day the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act went into effect in 2014, Cary Kane’s attorneys sent a demand to an employer in Manhattan asking that it reinstate an employee sent home when her doctor proscribed physical job restrictions due to her high risk pregnancy. As a result, the employee was offered reinstatement to light duty work with back pay covering her forced absence from the date the law went into effect.
New York State’s Human Rights Law
New York State’s Human Rights Law also offers protection against pregnancy discrimination if the company has four or more employees. For example, among many other things, it is unlawful under the NYSHRA for an employer to compel a pregnant employee to take a leave of absence because she is pregnant.
Section 206-c of the New York State Labor Law requires that an employer accommodate the need of a nursing mother to express her breast milk at her place of employment by providing her with a clean, sanitary and private place to do so. A toilet does not meet this test. The employer must also accommodate changes to the employee’s work schedule to allow her to express her breast milk.
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
When an employee cannot work because of a high-risk pregnancy or complications from the birth of a child, the Family Medical Leave Act requires the employer to grant twelve weeks of unpaid leave. Her job must be held for her if she returns to work at the end of the leave. Her medical insurance must be continued during the FMLA leave. During the leave, she should be paying no more for her insurance than what she did while working. If her company provides disability insurance for other medical conditions, she may also be entitled to receive disability benefits during the 12 weeks.
To be covered for FMLA leave, under federal law the employer must have at least 50 employees. New York’s FMLA covers companies where there are only four employees.