Pregnancy is of utmost importance to the survival of the human race, yet maternity discrimination is alive and well in the U.S. Sadly, many who engage in maternity discrimination actually believe they are doing something positive when in reality, they are causing unnecessary harm.
New York and federal law provide clear and effective protections for pregnant women in the workplace. However, employers can be clever when committing misdeeds. An employer can sneakily filter out job candidates who are pregnant or are planning to become so.
For example, a woman who is visibly pregnant may never know that she was denied employment for being pregnant if the hiring manager never tells her that.
However, a maternity discrimination lawyer might find clues during an investigation that would alert them to the discriminatory acts, such as the existence of suspect hiring questions like “Are you pregnant?” or “Do you plan to become pregnant in the near future?”
It’s all well and good to get hired if you’re pregnant. However, there’s not much cause for celebrating if your boss pays you less for being pregnant. There’s also no cause for happiness if you tell your current boss that you’re pregnant and subsequently get handed a pay cut.
Of course, some jobs should not be handled by pregnant employees. But pregnant workers in most positions are quite capable of continuing the tasks they previously engaged in before becoming pregnant.
Management’s efforts to demote or fire them may come from a desire to protect pregnant women or from an urge to control them. In any case, pregnant women enjoy federal and state protections from these actions.
Even though federal and state laws exist to protect pregnant women, many still face dismissal once they notify their employers that they are pregnant. In some workplaces, the discrimination is so great and known that women forgo having children for years for fear of being fired.
Denial of Accommodations
Since 2016, pregnant workers in New York have had the right to request certain accommodations for their condition. Denial of these accommodations is a form of maternity discrimination.
As a pregnant worker, you have the right to ask for:
- Occasional water and rest breaks
- Medical leave
- A modified work schedule
- Light duty assignments
- Transfer away from dangerous jobs or areas of work
Pregnant workers might also face retaliation for requesting an accommodation, but they don’t have to stand for it and should take legal action in that case.
What to Do If You Have Faced Maternity Discrimination
Maternity discrimination strikes at the heart of your life and livelihood. You have the right to work and make decisions regarding pregnancy without facing discrimination. If you have been discriminated against, contact a maternity discrimination lawyer as soon as possible.
An attorney can help you seek relief under federal and state laws, which may include compensatory and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages seek to make victims whole by compensating them for their economic and non-economic losses. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are invoked to punish a wrongdoer for particularly egregious behavior.
Your attorney can also help you seek a form of injunctive relief requiring an employer to take or stop certain actions.
Contact The Cimino Law Firm today to learn more about how you can fight maternity discrimination.