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Pregnancy Discrimination in New York: What You Need to Know

Having a child is a special time in your family’s life. The excitement of meeting your baby and bringing them home to meet other family members is thrilling, but there are also the challenges of late night feedings, diaper changes, and developing a whole new routine. Returning to work after maternity leave can bring mixed emotions, and while you may be excited to the prospect of getting back to work, those early days on the job can require an adjustment as well.

While you were gone, your company likely had someone temporarily replacing your position, or they may have shifted the workload to other coworkers to make up for your absence. On your return, a readjustment period is normal, but there are situations in which your job duties or your position within the company may not be what it was when you left. Unfortunately, pregnancy discrimination is a common issue many new mothers face on the job. In these types of situations, it is important to be aware that there are laws to protect you and legal actions you can take to help protect the investment you have made in your career.

Pregnancy Discrimination After Maternity Leave

According to the New York State Division of Human Rights, pregnancy discrimination is defined as taking any adverse actions against an employee during pregnancy or on the return from maternity leave. These types of actions include the following:

    • Terminating the employee or eliminating their position without good cause;
    • Demoting employees as a way of punishing them for taking maternity leave;
    • Punishing returning mothers by giving them less desirable assignments;
    • Transferring the employee against their wishes;
    • Denying new mothers overtime or forcing them to take a reduction in hours;
    • Any other action that violates their employment agreement or denies them privileges commonly associated with their position.

Strengthening New York Pregnancy Protections

While companies conducting business in New York City have been required to provide special accommodations for pregnant workers and mothers returning from maternity leave since 2014, the city recently released new enforcement guidelines to address lingering issues professional moms commonly face. According to a May 2016 news release from the City of New York, both the mayor and the human rights commissioner for the city joined forces in helping to more clearly define violations of the pregnancy protections provided under the city’s existing human rights laws. Violations elaborated on include:

      • Failing to promote an employee after maternity leave without good cause;
      • Failing to accommodate reasonable requests for scheduling changes;
      • Failing to provide nursing mothers with breaks, as well as private areas to express breast milk;
      • Failing to allow for additional unpaid leave, if requested.

Let Us Help You with Your Case

If you believe you have been discriminated against at work after returning from maternity leave, contact Ricotta and Marks, P.C. today. We provide the aggressive legal representation you need to ensure your rights are protected. Call or contact our office online today to discuss your case.

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