New York City Prohibits Discrimination Based on Familial Status

New York City Prohibits Discrimination Based on Familial Status

New York City discrimination attorneys at Leeds Brown have decades of experience representing the people of New York in sex discrimination cases. To this day, we continue our vigorous support of the rights of all men and women to live free from harassment and discrimination in areas of housing, employment, and compensation.

Discrimination occurs when someone such as an employer bases a decision on an individual’s gender or treats one gender differently than another. If you have been denied a job, wrongfully terminated or mistreated because of your gender, you may have legal recourse. You may wish to speak with the New York City attorneys at Leeds Brown. We are committed to representing women and men who have experienced sex discrimination. Our team-based, hands-on approach allows us to work closely with you to achieve the successful results you desire.

Familial Status Discrimination and Pregnancy Discrimination are Prohibited in New York City

Unfortunately, despite advances in equal rights for women, there is a persistent stereotype that women workers, particularly young ones, are not fully committed to or as capable of performing their jobs as men. The notion that a young female employee will want to get married or have children lingers in the air during many a job interview or corporate meeting. Some employers believe that having children or a spouse results in more frequent absences or fewer late nights at the office. This belief disproportionately affects women more than men because women tend to be, although are not always, the primary caretakers.

In October 2015, new state laws were signed designed to further protect the women of New York City against this type of discrimination. The legislation which took effect on January 19, 2016, specifically protects against workplace discrimination on the basis of familial status. The law makes familial status a protected classification. This means that it is illegal for an employer to base an employment decision on whether or not the employee is married, pregnant or has children. There are federal laws that offer the same protection. The state law, however, protects more individuals because it applies to employers with at least 4 or more employees; federal laws apply to larger companies.

Discrimination Based on Pregnancy or Childbirth is Wrong

Pregnancy or familial status discrimination occurs when an employer makes a decision about promoting, compensating, hiring, or firing a worker based on pregnancy, childbirth or the fact of having children. This kind of discrimination violates both state and federal laws.

What are some examples of familial status or pregnancy discrimination?

  • Refusing to hire someone because they are pregnant
  • Refusing to promote someone because you think they may become pregnant
  • Terminating someone who has become pregnant
  • Refusing to hire or promote someone with children
  • Firing someone after you hear they may be adopting a child
  • Refusing to allow a pregnant woman to enforce her rights under short term disability leave policy
  • Refusing to allow a pregnant woman to exercise her rights under the FMLA

Employers Must Provide Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnant Women

In many ways, the anti-discrimination laws treat pregnancy as they do a short-term or temporary disability. Because of this similarity, when a pregnant woman is unable to perform certain job duties because of her pregnancy or childbirth, the employer must make reasonable accommodations. What might this mean?

  • Providing more frequent breaks to use the ladies room
  • Changing duties from heavy lifting to lighter work or desk work
  • Providing a new chair or pillow to support her back
  • Shortening or changing work hours

Employers must treat pregnant workers the same way they do other workers. For example, an employer who provides short term unpaid disability to an employee who suffers a stroke must provide the same for the pregnant employee. All work-related benefits provided to a non-pregnant worker must be provided to a pregnant worker.

If your employer provides health insurance, be sure that your pregnancy related conditions are covered in the same manner as other health conditions.

Contact New York City Sex Discrimination Lawyers to File a Claim

If you think that you have experienced discrimination based on your familial status, you may wish to speak with a sex discrimination attorney at Leeds Brown. If you have been terminated, had your compensation reduced or been passed over for a promotion your employer may be discriminating against you. It is illegal for your employer to base an employment decision on your familial status. It is also illegal for an employer to retaliate against you for opposing sex discrimination.

The laws that govern sex discrimination cases are complex and it requires a certain set of skills and experience to properly navigate a claim under one of the many pieces of legislation. Leeds Brown has the team to get the job done right regardless of the path you choose to take.

You may find that you wish to try to negotiate a settlement and we have successfully negotiated large ones for clients in New York City and across the nation. You may decide that your case is worth litigating and taking sex discrimination cases to trial is something that we don’t shy away from. We will do what it takes to obtain the compensation you deserve.

Contact the New York City sex discrimination lawyers at Leeds Brown today if you have been the victim of familial status or pregnancy discrimination. We are a full-service firm and can handle all of your discrimination claims. You can reach us twenty four hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-585-4658

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Shortly after beginning medical school, I experienced some academic difficulties. After seeing my physicians, I was diagnosed with ADHD. After I started receiving specific treatment for ADHD, I requested the school to accommodate me for the disability as recommended by my physician. One of the requests made was for extended time to take my exams. The extension of time was granted...

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Partner at Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP
I hired Lenard Leeds, Esq. to assist me with my wrongful termination. I was let go of my position because of my age. I was not only told to take a decrease in pay but also required to work fewer hours to do the same job. Additionally, they kept asking me “When are you going to retire?” I visited the...


I want to thank you again for assisting me in overseeing my issues with my employer. This is the second time I have used Lenard Leeds, Esq. to fight for me. This time I was a National Sales Manager of a drug company, where acts of discrimination based on my age, national origin and retaliation took place. Mr. Leeds and...

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