Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer in Rochester, NY
Experienced Rochester Employment Attorney Protecting Women Against Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace
You were so excited when you became pregnant. You immediately started planning for the new addition to your family, but then the unthinkable happened.
Your employer discriminated against you due to your pregnancy.
You have heard of pregnancy discrimination cases before, but you never thought it would happen to you. Now, you are worried about your next steps and wondering how to hold your employer accountable.
Pregnancy discrimination is against the law, and you can make a claim against your employer. The Cimino Law Firm has focused on employment law for more than two decades and is here to help you. Contact us today for a free consultation.
What Laws Protect Against Pregnancy Discrimination?
The state and federal governments protect pregnant employees from facing discrimination in the workplace. The federal government amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). This act forbids employers with more than 15 employees to discriminate against pregnant women. It even goes a step further and states that pregnant women are to be treated like temporarily disabled employees. That meant that reasonable accommodations must be made during pregnancy.
The Family and Medical Leave Act also protects pregnant employees. Women can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth of the child. The father can also use this act to care for the child after birth.
The New York Human Rights Law protects pregnant employees from discrimination, as well. Employers that have at least four employees must provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant women. This includes modifying the work arrangement, reassignment to a more suitable position, and modifying the way work is performed. Pregnant women are also entitled to more frequent breaks and time off for medical appointments. Women are also allowed time off to recover after the birth of the baby.
Even with these laws in place, employers don’t always comply. When pregnant women force their hands by reporting them, many retaliate. It is illegal to retaliate against an employee who has reported a company for breaking the law. That includes violating the New York Human Rights Law and the federal laws that protect women during pregnancy. It is also illegal to retaliate against someone for taking legally-provided leave during pregnancy.
If your employer has retaliated against you, you can bring a case against the company. Retaliation includes:
- Reduction in pay
- Reassignment to a less desirable position
Contact us today if you have been retaliated against by your employer.
What Are Some Examples of Pregnancy Discrimination?
Many women are discriminated against without even realizing it. They think their employers have the right to make decisions or take action based on their pregnancies, but that is not true.
Examples of pregnancy discrimination include:
- Refusing to hire someone who has the best qualifications for the job because she is pregnant
- Denying a bonus due to the pregnancy
- Firing an employee who is going to take leave due to pregnancy
- Forcing a pregnant woman to bring a doctor’s note stating that she cannot perform specific duties when sick or injured employees do not have to follow the same protocol
- Demoting a pregnant employee
- Decreasing hours
- Removing privileges
- Penalizing an employee for taking time off to see a doctor when ill employees are not penalized
Getting Hired While Pregnant – What You Need to Know
There is some confusion regarding going to job interviews while pregnant. Many women feel they must disclose the fact that they are pregnant, even if they are not showing. You are not under any obligation to tell your potential employer that you are pregnant. However, you have the right to do so if you wish.
Potential employers cannot refuse to hire you based on your pregnancy. If you think an employer has passed you over because you are pregnant, you might have a pregnancy discrimination claim.
You also don’t have to tell an employer if you plan to have children. Employers should not ask this question during an interview. This is a form of gender discrimination. Employers don’t ask men if they plan to have families. This is something they reserve for women, and it is discriminatory. Asking about family planning during a job interview is quite different from discussions with coworkers during lunch or around the water cooler. You are not required to disclose any information regarding your plans to have a child.
Do I Need To Disclose Pregnancy to a Current Employer?
If you are already employed, you likely wonder if you should reveal your pregnancy to your employer. Again, you do not have to do so, but you might want to in case you are discriminated against. You cannot prove pregnancy discrimination unless you can prove that your employer knew that you were pregnant. While you might not want to announce your pregnancy during the first trimester, it is wise to make a record of it once you begin to show. If your employer takes adverse action against you after being notified, you can prove discrimination.
How Can I Get Leave While Pregnant?
It is also a good idea to notify your employer in advance of your intended leave due to your pregnancy. Along with the Family and Medical Leave Act, your employer might provide leave as well. Ask in advance, and do so in writing, so you have a record of it.
However, your employer cannot force you to take leave. Some employers try to get their employees to leave during the later months of pregnancy. Often, this is unpaid leave. Your employer is obligated under law to allow you to work as long as you can perform your duties with reasonable accommodation. If your employer forces you to take leave, you can file a claim.
How Do I Report Pregnancy Discrimination?
If your employer has discriminated against you because you are pregnant, you need to follow a particular process. First, report the incident to your employer. The federal government requires that you notify your employer and allow him or her the opportunity to correct the problem. If your employer does not resolve it or if you have been illegally fired, it is time to take legal action.
Your lawyer will recommend the best course of action for your complaint. You might file a complaint with the EEOC, or you could file a lawsuit.
What Are The Potential Damages in Pregnancy Discrimination Cases?
If you take your case to court, you might be eligible to collect damages for your claim. Damages include:
- Lost wages and benefits
- Future lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Court fees
- Attorney’s fees
The court also might provide injunctive relief. The court has the right to order the employer to reinstate you if you were fired. However, it is not typical for the court to order reinstatement since this causes two problems. First, of course, you likely don’t want to go back to the place that discriminated against you. Second, someone has taken your position if you’ve been fired, and it is unfair to replace that person, even if you were illegally fired.
Punitive damages are also an option. If the employer acted egregiously, the court might award these damages to deter others from doing the same thing and to punish your employer.
The Cimino Law Firm – Your Pregnancy Discrimination Advocate
The Cimino Law Firm is an advocate for the rights of pregnant women, as well as fathers who want to take time off for the birth of the baby. Michelle Cimino has spent more than 20 years of litigating pregnancy discrimination cases. You will benefit from her experience and knowledge regarding both federal and New York state discrimination laws.
If you’ve been discriminated against, you want to resolve the process as quickly as possible. We make it easy by providing our clients with a free phone consultation. During the phone call, you will find out if you have a claim against your employer.
We have offices in Webster and Rochester, NY. Regardless of the office you choose, you will work directly with an employment lawyer. We will gather evidence and work quickly to settle your claim or take your employer to court.
Call us today to begin the process.
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