Female Workers in New York and Nationwide Cannot be Fired Over Their Pregnancy Status

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has accused a pet food processor of pregnancy discrimination. A lawsuit filed by the agency alleges that Arkansas-based Triple T Foods fired a quality control lab technician due to her pregnancy status in direct violation of federal law. The EEOC claims the female lab technician was employed by the company for about one month before the woman was terminated on the day she informed the pet food company’s management team of her pregnancy status. After pre-litigation negotiations reportedly failed, the EEOC filed a complaint for back pay, compensatory, and punitive damages on behalf of the woman in the Western District of Arkansas. The agency also asked the federal court to issue an injunction against Triple T Foods that would permanently prohibit the company from engaging in pregnancy discrimination in the future.

Despite that this situation occurred in another state, pregnancy discrimination is common in New York. The New York Human Rights Law prohibits an employer from firing a woman based on her pregnancy status. Additionally, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 requires all employers in New York and across the country to provide pregnant employees with the same workplace accommodations that individuals with a disability would receive. In practice, this means an employer must offer reasonable accommodations to a pregnant employee as long as the adjustment will not result in undue hardship to the employer’s business. In New York, a worker is not required to notify her employer when she becomes pregnant. Still, many women choose to do so.

The New York Workers’ Compensation Law allows employed individuals in our state to take short term disability leave. The law allows for a maximum of 26 weeks of leave at half the rate of a worker’s average weekly salary. A New York employer is obligated to permit the same amount of leave for a pregnancy-related disability as any other type of disability. In addition, federal law allows an employee to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave after the birth of a child if the worker is employed at a company that has more than 50 employees and the worker has been employed by the company for at least one year.

Whenever an employer treats a pregnant worker in a negative manner due to her pregnancy status or a related medical condition, pregnancy discrimination has occurred. Discriminatory behavior may include an employer who unlawfully refuses to accommodate a pregnant worker, a supervisor who fires, punishes, or demotes a pregnant worker over a pregnancy-related medical leave request, and many other circumstances. If you feel that you suffered workplace discrimination as a result of your pregnancy, you are advised to discuss your rights with an experienced attorney.

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

More Blog Posts:

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act Protects Female Workers in New York and Nationwide, New York Employment Attorney Blog, September 16, 2013
Manhattan Judge Issues Ruling in Pregnancy Discrimination Case Filed Against Bloomberg LP, New York Employment Attorney Blog, September 11, 2013
Additional Resources:

EEOC Sues Triple T Foods for Pregnancy Discrimination, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Press Release dated September 18, 2013


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