Protecting Women from Pregnancy Discrimination in New York

Protecting Women from Pregnancy Discrimination in New York

New York pregnancy discrimination attorneys at Leeds Brown protect the interests of pregnant women in New York City and nationwide. We are a full service, hands-on employment law firm that can successfully navigate your workplace discrimination, wage-hour or harassment claims. Many New York laws favor employees, and we can help ensure that those pregnant receive the fair treatment to which they are entitled.

As a pregnant woman, you have rights and you need know what they are. Do you know you have the right to take time off for medical treatment? Do you know that you may have the right to workplace accommodations if you can not fully perform your job? You have the right to the exact same treatment as other employees.

Our New York City pregnancy discrimination lawyers can explain the laws, help you to understand your rights and protect your interests should you experience gender or pregnancy discrimination at work.

What is Pregnancy Discrimination?

Under federal law and New York State law, pregnancy discrimination exists when you are treated differently or poorly as a job applicant or employee because of your pregnancy or related conditions. Some examples of pregnancy discrimination may be:

  • An employer refuses to hire you because you are pregnant
  • An employer refuses to hire because you are planning to become pregnant
  • An employer fires you because you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant
  • An employer denies your return to the same job after maternity leave
  • An employer treats you differently than others
  • An employer harasses you because you are pregnant

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act Protects New York Employees From Discrimination

The federal law that prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy is called the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). The Pregnancy Discrimination Act was enacted to clarify that discrimination based on pregnancy, child birth, or related medical conditions is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

Under this law, pregnancy is likened to a temporary or short term disability. It can include morning sickness, bed rest, and recovery from child-birth. Pregnancy is treated in the same way as any other illness or condition. Your employer must treat an employee who is pregnant exactly like any other employee with a disability.

Have You Experienced Pregnancy Discrimination?

Under the PDA, the following behaviors may constitute illegal pregnancy discrimination:

  • During an interview, you are asked if you have children and how many.
  • During an interview, you are asked if you plan to get pregnant.
  • Your pregnancy demands that you take several bathroom breaks and your boss fires you
  • You ask your supervisor if you can stop lifting heavy boxes during your pregnancy. He refuses, even though he lets your co-worker stop lifting heavy boxes after his appendix surgery.
  • You are docked pay for missing work for pre-natal testing while your co-worker was not docked pay for attending physical therapy after an accident.
  • Your boss fires you after you tell her you are pregnant.

If you any of the scenarios above are familiar to you, it’s possible you are the victim of pregnancy discrimination or sex discrimination. Speak with a New York discrimination attorney at Leeds Brown to find out if you have a claim against your employer.

New York State and New York City Prohibit Discrimination Against Pregnant Workers

In addition to Title VII, pregnant women are protected under other federal laws. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) are also designed to guarantee that pregnant women receive the same treatment as other employees. For instance, the FMLA allows women to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave without fear of losing their job upon return.

New York State provides addtional legal protection and support to ensure the fair treatment of pregnant women in our workforce. For instance, New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) prohibits discrimination against someone because of pregnancy or any condition related to pregnancy. Unlike federal law that covers employers with 15 workers, NYSHRL applies to businesses that employ only 4 or more workers. This smaller threshold provides protection to a larger population of women.

New York Laws Continue to Protect Women From Pregnancy Discrimination

In 2016, New York enacted a new law that leaves little room for interpretation by many employers who try to avoid accommodating pregnant employees. New York State and federal laws tend to treat pregnancy as a disability. Under the ADA, employers must make reasonable job accommodations for otherwise qualified disabled employees.

The newly enacted Protect Women from Pregnancy Discrimination Bill reinforces New York’s commitment to its female workforce. The bill specifically requires employers to perform a reasonable accommodation analysis for pregnant employees and provide reasonable accommodations. By specifically including a provision for pregnancy, employers have little basis on which to ignore the law’s requirements.

Contact New York Pregnancy Discrimination Attorneys to File a Claim Against Employer

Fortunately, New Yorkers work in a state that protects its women from discrimination. Federal laws and New York State legislation prohibit sex discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, and disability discrimination. The New York employment discrimination lawyers at Leeds Brown take pride in helping women like you secure compensation you deserve any time an employer fails to take these laws seriously. We have spent decades zealously advocating on behalf of the women of New York City and know the ins-and-outs of pregnancy discrimination cases and other employment claims.

Contact our office if you think you have been the victim of workplace discrimination of any kind. Leeds Brown has discrimination attorneys available to speak with you around the clock. We can help you recover compensation for your losses. You may be entitled to unpaid wages, money for emotional distress, and punitive damages. You may also be entitled to return to your job, if that is what you would like. Call Leeds Brown today at 1-800-585-4658 to discuss your New York pregnancy discrimination case.



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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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