Complaint Against Hospital Highlights the Prevalence of Pregnancy Discrimination in New York and Nationwide

A 30-year-old pregnant woman has reportedly settled her pregnancy discrimination claim against a Tallahassee, Florida hospital. In April, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of the pregnant cleaner after she was allegedly forced to take unpaid leave from her job at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital due to a medical condition related to her pregnancy. The hospital purportedly failed to accommodate the woman after her physician requested that she refrain from lifting more than 20 pounds until her after child was born.

According to NWLC Vice-President and General Counsel Emily Martin, the successful settlement allowed the pregnant hospital worker to return to her job immediately. Martin added that pregnancy discrimination often disproportionately affects low-wage workers such as cleaners when an employer refuses to make small accommodations. Too often, the pregnant women who rely most heavily on their paycheck are fired or forced to quit instead of being temporarily accommodated.

Although this situation occurred in Florida, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 requires all employers in the United States to provide pregnant workers with the same workplace accommodations individuals with disabilities receive. This means an employer must provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers where doing so will not result in undue hardship. The EEOC complaint in this case stated that the hospital not only refused to accommodate the woman’s request for light duty after 23 weeks of pregnancy, but also sent her home without pay and threatened to terminate her. In addition, the woman’s employer reportedly provided similar accommodations to several of the pregnant woman’s co-workers who experienced a temporary injury or disability.

Whenever an employer treats a pregnant employee negatively or in a prejudicial manner as a result of her pregnancy or a medical condition that is related to her pregnancy, discrimination has occurred. Despite that employers in New York and across the nation may not legally discriminate against a pregnant worker, such behavior is reportedly quite common. Sadly, pregnancy discrimination can take a number of forms. Discriminatory behavior may include an employer who refuses to accommodate a pregnant worker, a supervisor who disciplines or fires a pregnant employee over a pregnancy-related medical leave request, any situation in which an employee’s opportunity for advancement is directly impacted by her pregnancy status, and more. If you suffered pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, you should discuss your rights with an experienced attorney.

The capable lawyers at Phillips & Associates represent the victims of workplace pregnancy discrimination and sexual harassment in New York City and surrounding areas. At Phillips & Associates, our caring attorneys will fight to protect your rights at the municipal, state, and federal levels. To schedule a free, confidential consultation with a hardworking advocate, do not hesitate to give our knowledgeable lawyers a call at (212) 248-7431 or contact us through our website today.

More Blog Posts:

New Report Claims Pregnancy Discrimination in New York and Elsewhere is on the Rise, New York Employment Attorney Blog, June 17, 2013
Complaint Alleges Employer Health Care Plans Unlawfully Discriminate Against Pregnant Dependents in New York and Across the U.S., New York Employment Attorney Blog, June 6, 2013
Additional Resources:

Florida Hospital and Pregnant Worker Settle Discrimination Complaint Filed by NWLC, National Women’s Law Center Press Release dated May 1, 2013

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