New York Pregnancy Discrimination Guide
New York Pregnancy Discrimination is on the Rise
New York pregnancy discrimination is rampant. Have you been fired or otherwise mistreated at work due to your pregnancy? You are not alone and you are protected. Women today face termination, demotion, reduced hours and benefits other hardships due to pregnancy. Moreover, pregnant employees are denied workplace accommodations which puts their health and pregnancies at risk. New York pregnancy discrimination is a serious issue and fortunately new laws have been created to protect working women.
New York Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyers
Our law firm has been helping employees fight pregnancy discrimination since 1999. We routinely represent woman who have been fired or denied workplace accommodations. New York City has a strong pregnancy discrimination law that can be used to leverage favorable settlements. If you have been fired or otherwise mistreated please give us a call.
Examples of New York Pregnancy Discrimination
- Confident in her skills as she headed into the interview for her dream job in New York City, Mandy was caught when asked of her plans to have a family. She stuttered out, “yes, someday” and found out the next week she was not selected for a second interview.
- Carla told her boss she had good child care for her infant and did not need a lighter work load. In fact, she let him know she needed the full time pay. She requested extra hours to help her with childcare bills. Still when the next schedule came out, Carla found her hours cut by a third, with no explanation.
- Francine’s status as number-one salesperson continued quarter after quarter. She loved her job wining and dining prospective customers to win their business. So, she was puzzled and upset when, in her second trimester, her manager restricted her to a desk job and gave her client appointments to colleagues.
- Megan was determined to keep her baby off formula, but had to express breast milk in asupply closet that was dark and crowded with office equipment. She got so stressed that her lactation was adversely affected. Megan was unable to carry through with her plan and her baby had to be put on formula.
- Despite being a senior manager, Kimberly endured accusations of “mommy brain” and disparaging comments about her changing shape during pregnancy. When she lodged a formal complaint, she found herself left out of key meetings. Kimberly was demoted and eventually downsized.
How to Tell Your Boss that You’re Pregnant
New York Pregnancy Discrimination Guide
- Your employer is not allowed to ask if you plan to have children or if you’re pregnant nor, if you’re visibly pregnant, ask your intentions to work after childbirth.
Firing or layoff
- Your employer may not terminate you if you’re pregnant or intend to get pregnant.
- Your employer cannot reduce your wages or salary because you are pregnant
- Your employer is not allowed to change your work assignments because you are pregnant.
- Your employer cannot reduce your hours, or refuse you overtime, because you’re pregnant.
- Your employer cannot deny promotions or demote you on account of your pregnancy.
- Your employer is not allowed to deny you training or other employment related education because of your pregnancy.
- Your employer must provide you with the same mandated leave and health insurance as non-pregnant workers.
- Your employer may not require ‘proof of pregnancy’ from you at any time.
Your employer may not request a doctor’s note from you unless it is for an accommodation that requires you to leave the workplace.
New York Pregnancy Discrimination: Workplace Accommodations
New York pregnancy discrimination laws, such as the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, provide broad protections. These laws recognize that even with the healthiest pregnancy, pregnant workers have different physical needs than non-pregnant workers. Pregnant employees may get tired quicker, need the restroom more frequently, should refrain from heavy lifting and should not be exposed to dangerous chemicals.
While pregnancy itself is not a disability, medical conditions can arise for some women that impair the ability to work and are considered “disabilities” even though temporary. Pregnancy-related disabilities include carpal tunnel syndrome (wrist pain), gestational diabetes, sciatica (leg nerve pain), and preeclampsia (dangerously high blood pressure).
You should be aware that when you’re pregnant you are entitled to:
- Sufficient breaks
- Assistance with manual labor
- Time off for prenatal appointments
- Temporary transfer to less strenuous or hazardous working conditions
- Redistributing non–essential tasks (i.e. heavy lifting)
- Permitting a pregnant worker to keep water at her desk (when company normally does not permit this)
- Allowing a worker with “severe morning sickness” to alter her schedule
- Letting a pregnant employee telecommute while on bed rest
- Expanding a company’s standard leave for pregnancy employees
- transfers or changes in their jobs to reduce stress
- Water breaks
- Less time standing
- Time off to recover
- More rest breaks
- Time off for doctors visits
- Leave to recuperate from childbirth
- Changes in work locations or duties to avoid exposure to dangerous substances
New York Pregnancy Discrimination: Your Rights After Childbirth
Nursing Mothers Have the Right to Express Milk at Work
Medical science has shown that “breast is best” for your infant’s health. What about when you return to work? How can you nurse your baby when your body keeps making milk all day and you’re not near your baby? Fortunately, there are ways to express your breast milk. For instance, portable breast pumps can be brought to the office.
Women have the legal right to express breast milk in the workplace. Nursing mothers are entitled to:
- A reasonable break time to express breast milk for up to three years after the child’s birth.
- Taking (paid and/or unpaid) breaks as often as you need to express breast milk.
- A place to express breast milk that is safe, clean, private and close to the workspace (not in a restroom).
- A refrigerated space to store your breastmilk.
- No discrimination by your employer in any way for choosing to express breast milk in the workplace.
New York Pregnancy Discrimination – The Law
In New York State, pregnancy discrimination is prohibited in the workplace. In certain situations, it can be considered a form of sex, disability, and familial status discrimination. Under New York law, pregnancy discrimination is adverse action on an employee that is pregnant, intends to be pregnant, recently was pregnant, or recently gave birth. Adverse actions include termination, demotion, denial of overtime, unwanted reduction of work schedule, or any other adverse action relating to the terms, conditions or privileges of employment. In the workplace, pregnancy-related medical conditions should be treated the same as other medical related conditions. If it is requested, an employer should work alongside the employee to make reasonable accommodation available for her in the workplace. Examples of accommodations are voluntary time off, small changes in the workplace, allowing frequent restroom visits, etc. Also, Employers may not retaliate against an employee for asserting her rights under these laws.
Employers must have a written, official policy that explains the plans and procedures for reasonable accommodation of pregnant and disabled employees. The policy should be distributed to the employees once they are hired and available during the course of employment.
New York State Paid Family Leave
Your payroll deductions earn you this leave to bond with a child
New York State has one of the nation’s strongest paid family leave policies. As of January 1, 2018, most employees who work in New York State for private employers are eligible to take Paid Family Leave to bond with a newborn or adopted child.
Q: How is the New York State Paid Family Leave program funded?
A: It is funded by employees through payroll contributions (unless the employer chooses to fund it entirely). Employees cannot opt out if they meet the eligibility criteria.
Q: What is the employment eligibility to receive Paid Family Leave?
A: You need to be a full or part-time employee
Q: Who does not qualify?
A: Independent contractors, freelance workers, and farm workers do not qualify.
Q: How much is the amount of Paid Family Leave?
A: Starting in 2018, you get 50% of your average weekly wage for an 8-week period.
By 2021 (the end of the phase-in), you’ll get 67% of your average weekly wage for 12 weeks.
Q: What if I am a higher-income earner, can I still qualify?
A: Yes, but your Paid Family Leave payment is capped at the same percentage of the state average weekly wage as the percentage of your own average weekly wage.
Q: Can I continue my health insurance while on Paid Family Leave?
A: Yes, you can. If you contribute to the cost of your health insurance, you must continue to pay your portion of the premium cost while on Paid Family Leave
Q: I’m a salesperson, so much of my pay is in commissions; does that affect my Paid Family Leave payments?
A: No, it doesn’t. Are commissions considered wages for Paid Family Leave purposes?
Q: Is my job protected while I’m away on Paid Family Leave?
A: You are guaranteed the same or comparable job after your leave ends.
Family Medical Leave Act
Unpaid, job-protected leave
The FMLA provides the right to take up to 90 days of unpaid leave in connection with childbirth and pregnancy.
To be eligible for FMLA leave, your employer needs to have at least 50 employees working within a 75-mile radius of each other and you need to have worked at least 1250 hours in the past 12 months.
New York Pregnancy Discrimination – Resources
New York Pregnancy Discrimination Cases on Contingency Fee
We handle most New York pregnancy discrimination cases on a one-third contingency fee. This means that you don’t pay us until, and unless, we recover money for you. Our fee is a third of whatever we recover for you.
Ready to speak to us? Contact us to discuss your situation.