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Pregnancy Discrimination Attorneys in New York City


Pregnancy discrimination in New York City occurs when an employee or job applicant is treated unfairly or harassed by her supervisor/manager, employer, CEO, co-worker, vendor, client, or other non-employee because she is pregnant. Federal and New York City laws prohibit this type of discrimination in the workplace. For the past 25 years, the experienced NYC pregnancy discrimination attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group have helped pregnant women, just like you, get the compensation they deserve.

New York offers the New York State Paid Family Leave (NYSPFL) program. Under this program, mothers and fathers have the right to take up to 10 weeks of paid time off from their jobs to bond with their new baby. This program can only be used within 12 months after childbirth. Employees taking NYSPFL can get up to 60% of their salary with a maximum weekly payout of $840.70.

What Is Discrimination Based on Pregnancy in New York City?

Pregnancy discrimination in the workplace is considered a form of sex discrimination. It occurs when an employee or job applicant is harassed or treated unfairly by a supervisor/manager, CEO, employer, co-worker, vendor, client, or other non-employee. Under the laws, an employee cannot be terminated, demoted, reassigned, or harassed as a result of being pregnant or a medical condition related to her pregnancy. In addition, a job applicant cannot be refused a job because she is pregnant. The laws also protect pregnant employees from being forced to tell an employer or potential employer she is pregnant.

What Laws Protect Employees from Pregnancy Discrimination in New York City?

Several laws protect employees and job applicants from pregnancy discrimination in New York City. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA) prevents employers, supervisors. managers, CRO’s, co-workers, clients, vendors, and non-employees of companies with 15 or more employees from discriminating against a person based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.  The PDA is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination based on pregnancy.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may also protect employees from pregnancy discrimination in New York City if the company has 15 or more employees. Under the ADA, while pregnancy, itself is not protected, any complications associated with pregnancy that would prevent an employee from conducting major life activities would be covered. Therefore, complications requiring an expectant mother to be on bed rest would then qualify as a protected status under the ADA.

The New York City Human Rights Law (NYC HRL) also protects women from pregnancy discrimination if they are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or recently gave birth as long as she works for an employer with 15 or more employees.

Finally, under New York City Law, the Pregnancy Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) helps protect women from pregnancy discrimination in the workplace of 4 or more employees. Under the PWFA, employers must make reasonable accommodations for pregnant women, including:

  • 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, such as maternity leave, 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
What Evidence Is Needed to Prove Pregnancy Discrimination in New York City?

There are several ways you can prove you experienced pregnancy discrimination in the workplace in New York City.

  1. Direct Evidence. This is also known as “the smoking gun.” Direct evidence is when you are told directly, overheard it being said, or accidentally received communication meant for someone else, that you were treated unfairly or harassed because you are pregnancy, had a child recently, or are planning on having a child soon. The evidence can be verbal or in writing.
  1. Disparate Evidence. This is based on a cause and effect. Disparate evidence occurs when your employer knows you are pregnant and then starts to treat you unfairly or harass you. The discriminatory behavior must occur within close proximity to when the employer learned you were pregnant, recently had a child, or were thinking of starting a family. Disparate evidence often proves that if your employer did not know about your condition, you would not have experienced discrimination.
  1. Policy Evidence. Sometimes policy can be the root of discrimination. Whether the employer intended for the policy to discriminate is not the question. However, if it does intentionally or unintentionally discriminate against you because you are pregnant, this can be evidence in your case.
What Are Examples of Pregnancy Discrimination in New York City?

Pregnancy discrimination in New York City can take many forms. In some ways, it can even affect men whose wives may be expecting a child or who are planning on starting a family. Here are some examples of pregnancy discrimination in New York City.

  • Refusing to hire a woman who is pregnant
  • Terminating a woman because she just had a baby
  • Constantly making remarks to a man whose wife or girlfriend is expecting, even when he asks you to stop
  • Terminating a man who complained to HR about his supervisor harassing him about when he is going to start a family
  • Demoting a woman who is pregnant because you do not think she can do her job, even though her work quality has not suffered
  • Denying your pregnant employee benefits to cover her or the unborn child
  • Making constant jokes about pregnant women that are found to be offensive
  • Sending out emails with comics about how to make a baby to all of the staff
  • Refusing to allow a pregnant woman to work on an assignment because the client doesn’t want to “deal with a pregnant woman.”
  • Refusing to allow a pregnant job applicant access to public accommodations
  • Denying a woman time out of the office for fertilization treatments
  • Touching a pregnant woman’s belly without her permission
  • Telling a pregnant woman her “pregnancy brain must be making you stupid.”
  • A co-worker, client, or vendor constantly calling a woman “preggers” even when she asked the person to stop
  • Crude remarks about how to make a baby from a client or non-employee when they hear a woman or man are trying to start a family.
What Is the Statute of Limitations to File a Pregnancy Discrimination Claim in New York City?

In New York City, victims of pregnancy discrimination are given a time limit to file a discrimination lawsuit. Depending on the details of the case, the time limit may be as follows:

  • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) handles any pregnancy discrimination cases that fall under the ADA or PDA. You have 300 days from the date of the last incident of discrimination to file a claim with the EEOC. The EEOC will then investigate the claim and determine if you have a case under the laws as provided and issue a Right to Sue Letter. This will allow you to file your lawsuit in federal court.
  • Under the PWFA, you can file a claim with the New York City Human Rights Commission (NYC HRC) within one year of the date of the last incident of discrimination. The NYC HRC will investigate the claim and you can settle it administrative proceedings. However, you may also choose to bypass the NYC HRC and file a lawsuit in New York Court within 3 years of the date of the last incident of discrimination.
What Remedies Are Offered Through the Court for Pregnancy Discrimination in New York City?

If you are the victim of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace in New York City, the courts offer various types of relief to help you get the justice you deserve. Some of the remedies available may include, but are not limited to:

  • Reinstatement of employment and/or benefits
  • Reimbursement of benefit premiums
  • Reimbursement of medical and other related expenses
  • Reassignment or termination of the person responsible for the discrimination and/or harassment
  • Review and revamping of discriminatory policies
  • Attorney’s fees
  • Back pay
  • Future pay
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Punitive damages
What is the Length of Time a Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit Takes to Settle in New York City?

No one wants to spend the time they should be spending with their new baby in a drawn-out court battle. The good news is, the length of time a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit in New York City may not take long at all to settle. If your employer is willing to negotiate a fair settlement, your case may settle within 4 to 6 months.

However, if your employer insists on taking the case to trial, you may spend 8 months to a year or more to prepare your case. Then the trial may take another few days to several weeks or more before a judgment is entered.

A Few Things You Can Do Right Now

Deciding whether to file a lawsuit against your employer for pregnancy discrimination is not something to be taken lightly. However, while you are making the decision, here are a few things you can do right now:

  1. Contact an experienced pregnancy discrimination attorney immediately.
  2. If you are still employed, do not quit your job without consulting your attorney first.
  3. If your company has an HR department, file a complaint about the discrimination in writing.
  4. If your company has a policy regarding pregnancy discrimination, follow it.
  5. Gather evidence. Document every incident, who was involved, when and where it occurred, what happened, and any witnesses.
  6. Do not waste time. The statute of limitations to file a claim for pregnancy discrimination is limited. Do not wait until you no longer have time to take action.

Contact Our NYC Pregnancy Discrimination Attorneys for Your Free Consultation

Pregnancy should be something to celebrate. No one should have to worry about the reaction in the office or being harassed or terminated because of it. If you are the victim of pregnancy discrimination in New York City, the lawyers at the Derek Smith Law Group can help. Contact us at (212) 587-0760 for a free consultation. We do not collect any money until we help you win your case.

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