Learning 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, in both New York and New Jersey pregnancy discrimination is illegal.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.Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnancy
New Jersey Law requires employers to provide employees with reasonable accommodations for pregnancy. For example, your employer might be required to provide you assistance or limit how much you need to stand, lift, or walk, provide you extra restroom or water breaks, modify your job or schedule, or even reassign you to a light duty job, if doing so is necessary to allow you to work while you are pregnant.
In addition, 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, after you give birth, your employer must accommodate you with respect to nursing, such as by providing you an appropriate private place where you can express milk.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 ("NJFLA") may entitle a parent to take as much as an additional 12 weeks off to care for their newborn child. The FMLA and NJFLA ordinarily require employers to return employees to their previous position or an equivalent one at the end of their maternity or paternity leave.Experience Representing Pregnant Employees
Our employment lawyers 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.
In both New York and New Jersey pregnancy discrimination is illegal If your company has treated your worse because you are pregnant, our New Jersey pregnancy discrimination lawyers can help. We welcome you to contact us online or call us at (973) 744-4000 to set up a meeting with one of our lawyers.