It is an unfortunate fact that some employers and co-workers treat pregnant employees differently. When this happens, an employer may be committing pregnancy discrimination.
Here are some warning signs that you are the victim of pregnancy discrimination:
· An increase in negative feedback for your work, despite receiving good reviews and positive feedback about your performance in the past
· Being inexplicably excluded from meetings or events that you would normally be a part of
· Sudden changes to your job duties
· Not receiving a promotion or raise that you were in line for before your pregnancy
· Being fired or demoted without a credible reason
Although not everything listed above automatically constitutes illegal pregnancy discrimination, if you experience any of these indicators, it is wise to investigate further.
What are my legal protections?
Employees in New York have several protections against pregnancy discrimination. Under federal law, it is illegal in workplaces with 15 or more employees for an employer to: 1) treat a woman (whether as a job applicant or employee) unfavorably because of pregnancy or childbirth or a related medical condition; 2) deny a pregnant woman the same benefits given to other persons with temporary disabilities or; 3) force a pregnant woman to leave work until the baby is born (or for a certain period after birth).
Additionally, under the recently enacted Protect Women from Pregnancy Discrimination Bill, it is illegal under New York state law for all employers to deny pregnant employees reasonable accommodations, unless such accommodations would constitute an undue hardship to the employer.
Finally, under the New York City Human Rights Law, employers in New York City with four or more employees must provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant women who suffer medical conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth. These accommodations may include additional bathroom breaks, rest periods for employees who stand for long periods of time, and assistance with manual tasks.
If you believe you are being discriminated against because you are pregnant, contact the experienced employment law attorneys at Serrins Fisher LLP. Our attorneys can listen to your situation, explain your legal options to you, and work on your behalf to protect your rights under local, state and federal law.