Pregnancy should be a time of excitement and joy, but unfortunately, it can also be a time when some employees face discrimination at work. As a litigation law firm dedicated to protecting employees' rights, we want to help you understand what pregnancy discrimination is, the laws that protect you, and the steps you can take if you believe you have been a victim of discrimination. In this blog post, we will cover federal and New York State laws, provide examples of pregnancy discrimination, explain the good faith interactive process, and discuss New York State Paid Family Leave.
Pregnancy Discrimination - Federal and New York State Laws
Pregnancy discrimination occurs when an employer treats a pregnant employee unfairly due to their pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. At the federal level, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits employers from discriminating based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. The PDA is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
In New York State, the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
The state also has the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), which requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers, such as modified work schedules, additional breaks, or temporary reassignments.
Here are some examples of pregnancy discrimination from actual cases:
- Young v. UPS (2015): The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a pregnant UPS worker, Peggy Young, who was denied a light-duty assignment while pregnant. The court held that employers must provide the same accommodations to pregnant workers as they do for other workers with similar limitations, as long as it doesn't cause undue hardship to the employer. The Court then remanded the case to a lower court to determine whether pregnancy discrimination actually occurred.
- EEOC v. Walmart (2018): The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a lawsuit against Walmart on behalf of Alyssa Gilliam and other pregnant workers, alleging that Walmart denied pregnant employees the same accommodations it provided to non-pregnant employees with similar limitations. Walmart settled the case for several million dollars and agreed to change its policies.
The Good Faith Interactive Process
The good faith interactive process is a collaborative effort between an employer and a pregnant employee to identify and implement reasonable accommodations that allow the employee to perform their job effectively. This process involves open communication, exploration of accommodations, evaluation and selection, implementation, and follow-up to ensure the ongoing success of the accommodation.
New York State Paid Family Leave
New York State Paid Family Leave (NYS PFL) is a program that provides eligible employees with paid time off to bond with a new child, care for a close family member with a serious health condition, or address family matters arising from a qualifying military deployment. In relation to pregnancy, NYS PFL can be used by both parents for bonding with a new child, whether the child is born, adopted, or fostered. Eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks of Paid Family Leave to bond with a new child in 2023, receiving up to 67% of their average weekly wage.
Understanding pregnancy discrimination and your rights as an employee is crucial for ensuring a fair and supportive work environment. If you believe you have experienced pregnancy discrimination or have been denied reasonable accommodations, our litigation law firm is here to help. We have a dedicated team of attorneys who specialize in plaintiff employment law services and are committed to protecting your rights. Contact us today to discuss your situation and explore your legal options.
If you are facing similar concerns or if you have questions about your Employment situation, please feel free to contact us here. We have many years of experience handling such matters and will be able to assist you in resolving the dispute.