2 forms of workplace discrimination women face uniquely

Women have to navigate a lot of challenges when they juggle their home-work life balance if there are minor kids at home and/or there are babies on the way. There are two very distinct times when they may face discrimination in ways that their male counterparts never will – during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Fortunately, laws are in place to help protect their rights.

New York has specific laws governing the rights of pregnant women. Separate laws cover their rights to pump milk at work if they’re breastfeeding their baby. Understanding their rights is critical for women so that they can better ensure that their employer is providing them with the required conditions at work.

Pregnancy rights and discrimination in New York

The rights of pregnant women working in New York are governed by a combination of federal and state laws, including the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) and the New York State Human Rights Law. Employers can’t legally discriminate against employees because of pregnancy or any related conditions. This means that employers can’t demote or fire an employee because of her pregnancy.

Pregnant employees are entitled to reasonable accommodations. Some of these include more frequent breaks, time off for prenatal care or temporary adjustments in work duties if medically necessary.

Breastfeeding rights and discrimination

Breastfeeding rights in New York are also protected under the law. These reflect an understanding of the importance of breastfeeding for both mother and child. The state mandates that employers provide reasonable break times for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for up to three years following childbirth.

Employers must make reasonable efforts to provide a private location where an employee can express milk in privacy. That spot can’t be in a bathroom. This right is crucial for supporting working mothers who wish to continue breastfeeding after returning to work.

Despite these laws, it’s still possible for women to suffer from discrimination at work because they need accommodations while they’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Any woman who’s facing discrimination or other negative employment actions because of those specific needs may opt to take action against their employer. Seeking personalized legal guidance is a good way to get started.

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