Experiencing Pregnancy Discrimination at WorkLearning that you are expecting a new baby should be a joyous time in your life. Unfortunately, some employers discriminate against women based on their pregnancy. For example, they reduce their workloads, pass them over for promotions, harass them, fire them or eliminate their positions based on the false assumption that they are unable to do their jobs, do not intend to return to work after giving birth or will not work as hard once their baby is born. Fortunately, pregnancy discrimination is illegal in both New Jersey and New York.
Pregnancy Discrimination is a Form of Gender Discrimination
Often related to gender discrimination, pregnancy discrimination is prohibited by both New Jersey and New York law. If you have been treated less favorably after you told your boss that you are pregnant, when you sought an accommodation for your pregnancy, or when you attempted to return to work from a maternity leave, your employment law rights may have been violated. Contact an experienced employment law attorney at Rabner Baumgart Ben-Asher & Nirenberg, P.C. for more information about your legal rights.
Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnancy
Although pregnancy itself is not a disability, many women experience temporary pregnancy-related disabilities such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia or eclampsia while they are pregnant, or postpartum depression after they give birth. Like other disabilities, you might be entitled to a reasonable accommodation for a disability caused by your pregnancy.
Similarly, in both New Jersey and New York City pregnant women also are entitled to reasonable accommodations for their pregnancies, whether or not they also are experiencing a disability.
A reasonable accommodation can include assistance with how you perform your job to allow you to conduct the essential functions of your job. For example, your employer might be required to limit how much you need to stand, lift, or walk, or to provide you time off from work so you can get bed rest or attend doctor’s appointments if doing so is necessary because of your pregnancy or a related disability. It also can include additional bathroom breaks and other breaks or rest during the workday.
For more information about reasonable accommodations for pregnancy please read one of the following articles:
Maternity and Pregnancy Leaves
Employees who are covered by the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) are entitled to take up to 12 weeks off per year for pregnancy-related disabilities, the birth or adoption of their child or to care for a newborn or newly adopted child. In some circumstances, the New Jersey Family Leave Act (FLA) may entitle a parent to take as much as an additional 12 weeks off to care for their newborn child. The FMLA and FLA ordinarily require employers to return employees to their previous position or an equivalent one at the end of their maternity or paternity leave.
Employment Lawyers Experienced at Representing Pregnant Employees
Our employment law attorneys have represented numerous women who have experienced discrimination or harassment at work because they are expecting a child. For example, one of our precedent-setting cases involved a woman who experienced discrimination after she told her employer that she was pregnant. On appeal, the New Jersey Appellate Division of the Superior Court agreed that she was entitled to have a jury award her damages for the emotional distress she experienced as a result.
If your company has treated your worse because you are pregnant, we welcome you to contact us online or call us at (973) 744-4000 to set up a meeting with one of our lawyers.