Introducing a new child into the world is life-changing. However, one part of your life it should not have a large effect on is your job. When you are pregnant, your employer cannot treat you unfairly due to your pregnancy but unfortunately, pregnancy discrimination occurs in the workplace.
Sometimes, pregnancy discrimination is discreet. How do you know when you have cause to file a claim or take action against your employer for pregnancy discrimination?
Examples of pregnancy discrimination
Discrimination based on a woman’s pregnancy can come in different forms. You cannot be treated unfairly during the hiring process or during employment. Pregnant employees and potential employees may have cause to take action against their employers if they face any of the following:
- Being denied a job or promotion
- Being fired or demoted
- Different treatment in the workplace
- Being forced to perform duties that threaten your health (i.e. lifting heavy boxes or standing for long periods of time)
- Being docked pay or otherwise disciplined for going to receive medical treatment or doctor’s appointments
If you think your employer subjected you to any of these actions during your pregnancy, you might have reason to take action against your employer.
What are my rights?
There are also certain things you are entitled to during your pregnancy. For example:
- Your employer cannot require you to take leave if you are still able to perform your job.
- Your employer cannot deny you leave if they provide leave to other employees for medical reasons
- Your employer must provide you with certain accommodations (i.e. modified duties)
- Your employer must hold your job during pregnancy leave for the same amount of time other jobs are held for other employees on leave.
You must also receive the same benefits as other employees at your company during your pregnancy, such as paid leave.
If you believe you were discriminated against due to pregnancy, you may be entitled to compensation in the form of back pay, promotions, compensatory damages or even punitive damages. Fortunately, New York has good protections for pregnant employees but you may still want to consult an experienced attorney to examine your options. Pregnancy should be a joyful time in anticipation of new life. Do not let a biased employer ruin your experience with discrimination.