Long Island Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyers Representing New York Employees
Pregnancy is a momentous occasion in a person’s life. As an employee, however, moving through pregnancy and the postpartum stage can be stressful and overwhelming. Unfortunately, pregnant and nursing women may experience discrimination within their workplace, or be made to feel like a burden by their employer. At Ricotta & Marks, P.C., our Long Island pregnancy discrimination lawyers know how devastating it can be for an employee to be subject to pregnancy discrimination at work, and we strive to hold employers and workplaces accountable for discrimination against employees on the basis of pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition. Pregnancy discrimination is never permitted and we advocate for all women who are, or have been, the victims of such conduct.
There are laws in place to prohibit pregnancy discrimination, but such issues persist. Pregnant women may fear losing their jobs or being unfairly treated due to their pregnancy.
Pregnancy discrimination should not occur in any Long Island workplace, from discriminatory practices in hiring to pregnancy discrimination in decisions about promoting and terminating employees.
What Is Pregnancy Discrimination?
Pregnancy discrimination is a form of employment discrimination that refers to any unlawful conduct based, in part, on a woman’s pregnancy status. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee due to pregnancy, breastfeeding, or the presence of any pregnancy-related conditions.
Pregnancy discrimination is prohibited under both New York State and federal legislation. Under these laws, pregnant women are guaranteed:
- The right to reasonable accommodations during pregnancy
- Rest breaks as necessary
- Modified work schedules to accommodate medical visits or familial responsibilities
- Transfers away from hazardous work areas
- Light-duty work assignments
- The ability to return to work following pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition
Moreover, pregnancy discrimination laws also protect women who are breastfeeding, stating:
- Women who are nursing have the right to access a private space to express milk
- Breastfeeding women have the right to occasional break times to express milk
- Discrimination due to the choice to express milk at work is prohibited
Federal and State Laws Prohibit Long Island Pregnancy Discrimination
Long Island employees are protected against pregnancy discrimination in the workplace under federal and state law. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits discrimination against an employee “based on pregnancy when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, such as leave and health insurance, and any other term or condition of employment.” The PDA became federal law in 1978 and amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It protects employees who are pregnant or who have a pregnancy-related condition, such as:
- Employee is pregnant;
- Employee has pregnancy-related medication conditions; or
- Employee has medical conditions related to childbirth.
In situations where an employee has a temporary disability due to pregnancy or a pregnancy-related medical condition, the employee also may have protections against discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In addition to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and possible protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Long Island employees also may have a federal right to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Employees Are Entitled to Reasonable Accommodations in a Long Island Workplace for Pregnancy-Related Conditions
Under New York State law, unlawful pregnancy discrimination can include an employer’s refusal to provide reasonable accommodations for a pregnancy-related conditions. Since January 2016, New York employers, including Long Island employers, have been required to provide a variety of reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees or those with pregnancy-related conditions. Examples of those reasonable accommodations may include but are not limited to the following:
- Permitting the employee to take occasional rest breaks or breaks to drink water;
- Providing the employee with a modified work schedule;
- Allowing the employee to take leave for pregnancy-related medical needs;
- Making light-duty assignments available to the employee; and
- Transferring the employee away from hazardous duties while the employee is pregnant or has a pregnancy-related condition.
Additionally, under New York Law, you may be entitled to up to 10 weeks of paid leave after the birth of your child.
Examples of Long Island Workplace Pregnancy Discrimination
Discrimination on the basis of pregnancy can take more than one form in a Long Island workplace. Examples of pregnancy discrimination may include but are not limited to:
- Refusing to hire a prospective employee because the person is pregnant;
- Denying a pregnant employee a promotion due to the pregnancy;
- Denying a pregnant employee a new training opportunity because of the employee’s pregnancy;
- Terminating an employee after learning the employee is pregnant;
- Terminating an employee after she returns from a pregnancy leave;
- Refusing to provide reasonable accommodations to an employee for a pregnancy-related condition; and/or
- Retaliating against an employee who files a pregnancy discrimination claim under federal or state law.
Have I Experienced Pregnancy Discrimination?
Employers are mandated to adhere to all pregnancy discrimination-related legislation. They must follow all guidelines set forth by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and Family & Medical Leave Act. If they fail to comply with state or federal law, they can be held accountable.
Pregnancy can be stressful, and this stress may be further compounded by discrimination or harassment in the workplace. If you believe that your employer has violated any of the aforementioned legal provisions, you may be a victim of pregnancy discrimination.
For more accurate guidance, the Long Island pregnancy discrimination lawyers at Ricotta & Marks are available to discuss your unique case. We can help you determine whether or not you have experienced illegal pregnancy discrimination.
What Can I Do If I Experienced Pregnancy Discrimination?
As with any discrimination issue, it may be possible to settle the problem internally, by filing a complaint through your employer. Many employers in New York State have a designated individual or department to field discrimination complaints.
Alternatively, if you have experienced pregnancy discrimination, you can file a charge through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or through the New York State Division of Human Rights.
In some cases, filing a lawsuit is the ideal option for pregnant women who have experienced discrimination.
Retaliation is Prohibited When an Employee Files a Pregnancy Discrimination Claim
Employers cannot retaliate against an employee who exercises rights under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act or any other federal or state law. To be clear, employees have a right to be free from pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, and they have a right to file a claim or to participate in an investigation related to a pregnancy discrimination claim.
If your employer has taken any adverse action against you in response to a pregnancy discrimination claim or investigation, it is critical to seek advice from a pregnancy discrimination lawyer in New York as soon as possible.
How Do I File A Lawsuit With Long Island Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyers ?
To file a lawsuit, you must first contact a pregnancy discrimination attorney to discuss your specific case and explore your options. To strengthen your case, compile any evidence of the discrimination, including informal correspondences and formal communication from your employer. Try to write down all information regarding the discrimination, including dates, locations, and individuals involved.
Seeking legal assistance can make all the difference in pregnancy discrimination cases. At Ricotta & Marks, we believe that every woman has the right to a safe and comfortable work environment.
Learn More from a Long Island Pregnancy Discrimination Attorney
When you have faced pregnancy discrimination at work, you may not know how to go about holding your employer accountable or seeking a remedy. Our dedicated and experienced Long Island pregnancy discrimination attorneys know how critical it is to move forward with a claim and to help employees who have faced discrimination to obtain a remedy. You may be able to receive back pay and emotional damages,in addition to other potential remedies under state or federal law.
Our firm will do everything we can to help you win your case. Contact Ricotta & Marks, P.C. online or contact us by phone at 347-464-8694 to speak with one of the dedicated employment lawyers at our firm about your pregnancy discrimination claim.