ADA Requires Employers in New York and Nationwide to Provide Workers Who Undergo Fertility Treatments with Reasonable Accommodations

file0001362717918 morguefile username jdurham.jpgA resort-based retail shop that sells shoes, bags, and accessories at a number of stores located across the Hawaiian Islands has agreed to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit for $60,000. In EEOC v. Step Three, Ltd., the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a complaint in Hawaii federal court on behalf of a Step Three buyer who claims she was disciplined and subsequently fired over her pregnancy. The discrimination allegedly began in 2011 after the Honolulu-based woman informed her employer that she was undergoing fertility treatments. According to the former employee, a company official made negative and offensive remarks about her fertility treatments and resulting pregnancy. She was also reportedly disciplined by the company and later terminated as a result of pregnancy-related travel restrictions.

The behavior alleged by the former Step Three worker violates the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978. According to Timothy Riera, Director of the EEOC’s Honolulu Office, Step Three also violated the Americans with Disabilities Act because infertility is a covered disability and employers must provide workers being treated for the condition with reasonable workplace accommodations.

In addition to the financial settlement, Step Three agreed to implement a number of changes to company policies in an effort to prevent future discrimination. The company will also provide the former employee with a neutral work reference, offer annual anti-discrimination training events for workers, and hold managers and other supervisors accountable if they do not address unlawful workplace discrimination, retaliation, or harassment. The agency will monitor Step Three’s compliance with the two-year consent decree.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act provides legal protections against harassment and discrimination on the basis of an employee or job applicant’s pregnancy status. Additionally, workers in New York City enjoy similar safeguards at both the state and municipal levels. The New York Human Rights Law prohibits an employer from making hiring decisions based on pregnancy and other protected statuses. A New York City law that goes into effect next month states employers in the city may not discriminate against a woman based upon her pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.

The caring attorneys at Phillips & Associates have many years of experience representing the victims of pregnancy discrimination and sexual harassment in New York City and surrounding areas. At Phillips & Associates, our quality lawyers are available to help you protect your rights at the city, state, and federal levels. To schedule a free, confidential consultation with a dedicated advocate, call our hardworking attorneys at (212) 248-7431 or contact Phillips & Associates through our website.

More Blog Posts:

EEOC Case Brought on Behalf of Pregnant Applicant Reminds Employers in New York and Elsewhere Pregnancy Discrimination is Illegal, New York Employment Attorney Blog, December 4, 2013
Jury Verdict Reminds Employers in New York and Across the U.S. to Protect Temporary Workers from Unlawful Harassment, New York Employment Attorney Blog, November 26, 2013
Additional Resources:

Step Three to Pay $60,000 for EEOC Pregnancy and Disability Discrimination Suit, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Press Release dated December 11, 2013

Photo credit: jdurham, morgueFile

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