Federal laws prohibit many discriminatory practices
The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act forbids biased treatment based on pregnancy status in businesses with more than 15 employees. This includes discrimination based on whether an employee may become pregnant in the future, harassment toward pregnant employees, or refusal to hire or promote employees because of pregnancy. Even asking about an applicant’s pregnancy status in an interview could be discriminatory.
The law also requires employers to treat pregnant employees’ medical needs in the same way they treat the medical needs of non-pregnant employees. Failure to cover pregnancy-related care in health plans , denying pregnant employees medical leave while allowing other employees to take such leave, or forcing pregnant employees to take leave when they can continue to do their work are all considered discriminatory practices. In some instances, the Americans with Disabilities Act may also require employers to make accommodations for pregnant employees so that they can continue to work.
New York laws are even more protective
New York state law, which covers businesses with more than 4 employees, offers further protections. Employers must provide pregnant employees accommodations like rest breaks, modified work schedules, or transfer to light duty assignments or positions that are less hazardous for their health. Employers must also offer breaks and suitable accommodations for nursing mothers.
Discrimination can not only create hostile work environments but also significantly damage pregnant people’s careers. If you have experienced pregnancy discrimination, speak to an attorney about filing a discrimination claim. You could receive compensation for the pay you have lost and prevent other workers from suffering the same harassment or discrimination.