Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace | Bantle & Levy



What is Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace?

Expecting a child should be one of the happiest times of your life, but for some, this occasion can be met with unfair treatment and hostility at work. Unfortunately, some women may experience employment discrimination due to their pregnancy. Many women already face discrimination in the workplace for their gender, and pregnancy may make it even harder to be treated fairly.

Whether or not you want to have children is an extremely personal choice and one that you should never be judged for in the workplace. Learn more about what can be considered pregnancy discrimination in the workplace and what you can do to get help.

What is Considered Pregnancy Discrimination?

Pregnancy discrimination involves treating an employee unfavorably due to their pregnancy, a pregnancy-related condition, or childbirth. Additionally, pregnancy discrimination includes discriminating against job applicants because of their pregnancy. However, employees who are currently pregnant are not the only ones who can experience this type of discrimination. Pregnancy discrimination is also illegal if an employee is perceived as being pregnant or for their capacity to become pregnant. 

This type of discrimination is illegal in all aspects of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, and fringe benefits. For example, an employer cannot fire an employee for becoming pregnant or refuse to promote them due to their pregnancy. Harassing an employee for their pregnancy may also be illegal if it creates a hostile work environment.

Many pregnant employees in NYC also have additional rights when it comes to taking pregnancy-related leave from work, breastfeeding while working, and having reasonable accommodations. For example, some employees may be able to receive light duty, additional rest breaks, and breaks to express breastmilk.

What Laws Protect Pregnant Employees?

Federal, New York State, and New York City Laws protect employees from pregnancy discrimination. 

Several important laws that help provide protections and rights to pregnant employees include the following:

Pregnancy Discrimination Act – The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) is an amendment to the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act that states that discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions is a form of prohibited sex discrimination. The PDA is applicable to employers with 15 or more employees.

New York State Human Rights Law – The New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) prohibits pregnancy discrimination for employers of all sizes. 

New York City Human Rights Law – The New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) makes pregnancy discrimination illegal for employers with four or more employees.

Family and Medical Leave Act – Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), eligible employees are entitled to take up to 12 weeks of paid or unpaid off from work for the birth of a child. Employees are protected from retaliation for exercising their FMLA rights.

New York Paid Leave Policy New York’s Paid Leave Policy allows most employees of private employers to take job-protected, paid time off to bond with a newly born child. 

Americans with Disabilities Act – Temporary disabilities from pregnancy may be considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act and may be entitled to reasonable accommodations. 

Consult with Our Employment Discrimination Attorneys Today

There are many emotions that come with expecting a baby, but worrying about your job and how you’ll be treated shouldn’t be one of them. At Bantle & Levy, we know that many employees experience discrimination based on their gender or family status. If you aren’t getting the fair treatment you deserve because of your membership in a protected class, our experienced employment discrimination attorneys can help.

Contact us today to discuss your situation.

Bantle & Levy
Bantle & Levy

Lee Bantle is a partner at Bantle & Levy LLP. He has extensive legal expertise, admitted to the bars of the U.S. District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals. With a distinguished academic background and clerkship experience, he has been recognized as a top-rated civil rights attorney and esteemed lawyer. In addition to his successful career, he has actively contributed to various legal organizations and serves as a faculty member for NYU's Annual Workshop on Employment Law for Federal Judges.


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