Pregnancy Discrimination

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Expecting a baby is a very special time for a woman. But for some women, their pregnancy predisposes them to unfair or unequal treatment in the workforce. It is illegal for any employer to fire an employee because she is pregnant. The employer can not change the terms, conditions, and privileges of employment because of pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions. It is also illegal for an employer to fire an applicant because she is pregnant. You may have a wrongful termination case if your employer fired you because you are pregnant.

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What is Pregnancy Discrimination? 

Federal and State laws protect pregnant employees from discrimination. Pregnancy discrimination occurs when an employer treats a woman unfairly because she is pregnant or because of a medical condition associated with her pregnancy. Anytime you are not afforded even a reasonable accommodation, you are fired or not promoted because of your pregnancy, you may have a pregnancy discrimination case against your employer.

Can an employer refuse to hire a pregnant woman?

An employer cannot refuse to hire a pregnant woman because of her pregnancy, because of a pregnancy-related condition, or because of the prejudices of co-workers, clients, or customers. An employer may not single out pregnancy-related conditions for special procedures to determine an employee’s ability to work while pregnant.
It is illegal to discriminate against an employee based on their pregnancy in any term or condition of employment, such as compensation pay, raises, promotions, hiring, firing, benefits, etc.

Available remedies in a Pregnancy discrimination lawsuit may include lost wages, emotional distress, punitive damages, and attorney fees.

What does the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) do?

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act protects pregnant employees and mothers who have recently given birth against discrimination and also provides a framework for how pregnant women should be treated on the job including the following guidelines:

  • Pregnant women must be treated the same as other applicants or employees with similar abilities or limitations
  • An employer cannot refuse to hire a woman because she is pregnant as long as she is able to perform the job
  • An employer can only require pregnant workers to submit a doctor note excusing their inability to work if they require all employees to do the same
  • Pregnant employees must be permitted to work as long as they are able to perform their jobs
  • Employers must hold open a job for pregnancy-related absences the same length of time jobs are held open for employees on sick or disability leave
  • Employers have to allow pregnant employees to make changes to their work duties or schedule in order to stay healthy
  • Employees with pregnancy-related disabilities must be treated the same as other temporarily disabled employees with respect to pay and benefits

These changes needed for some pregnant employees are called “reasonable accommodations”. Under the new law (PWFA), most employers in New York City must provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers.
If you feel you are not receiving reasonable accommodations from your employer the pregnancy discrimination attorneys at Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC can inform you of all the rights protecting pregnant women in the workforce. Know all the facts before proceeding with your legal case, an experienced pregnancy discrimination attorney can answer your questions and tailor a personalized legal strategy for your lawsuit.

Pregnancy discrimination is defined as any adverse action against an employee because the employee is pregnant, intends to become pregnant, recently was pregnant or recently gave birth. This is often in the form of termination, demotion, unwanted transfer, denial of overtime, unwanted reduction in work schedule, or adverse actions relating to the terms, conditions or privileges of employment.

Any pregnancy-related medical conditions must also be accommodated. While a pregnancy-related condition is treated as a temporary disability, any medically-advised restriction or need related to pregnancy will trigger the need to accommodate.

A reasonable accommodation is an accommodation that does not cause the employer undue hardship. Undue hardship generally means significant difficulty or expense to the employer. When looking at an undue hardship, the Court generally considers the following relevant factors such as, the overall size of the business, the type of operation of the business and the nature and cost of the accommodations.

In order to file a complaint, an employee who feels they have been discriminated against because they are pregnant must file a complaint with the State Division of Human Rights or the EEOC. Because of the complications of filing the proper pregnancy claim, please contact our experienced attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group PLLC, who have years of experience filing claims based on pregnancy discrimination.

Your Rights as a Pregnant Employee

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (“PWFA”) protects pregnant employees and mothers who have recently given birth against discrimination and also provides a framework for how pregnant women should be treated on the job. The PFWA creates the following guidelines:

  • Pregnant women must be treated the same as other applicants or employees with similar abilities or limitations.
  • An employer cannot refuse to hire a woman because she is pregnant as long as she is able to perform the job.
  • An employer can only require pregnant workers to submit a doctor note excusing their inability to work if they require all employees to do the same.
  • Pregnant employees must be permitted to work as long as they are able to perform their jobs.
  • Employers must hold open a job for pregnancy-related absences the same length of time jobs are held open for employees on sick or disability leave.
  • Employers have to allow pregnant employees to make changes to their work duties or schedule as a reasonable accommodation.
  • Employees with pregnancy-related disabilities must be treated the same as other temporarily disabled employees with respect to pay and benefits.

These changes needed for some pregnant employees are called “reasonable accommodations”. Under the new law (PWFA), most employers must provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers.

Contact our Pregnancy Discrimination Attorneys for a free consultation

Laws prohibiting pregnancy discrimination mandate that male and female workers must be treated equally in the workplace, including work rules and compensation. If you have questions about the rights of pregnant women in the workplace, the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC can advise you. If you need to speak with the pregnancy discrimination Attorney, call us at 800-807-2209 for a free consultation to discuss your possible claim. Our attorneys are available to review your claims and prepare a solid case to recover the damages and justice you deserved.

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