A jointly released report by the National Women’s Law Center and advocacy non-profit A Better Balance claims pregnant women in the United States are often denied reasonable accommodations at work. The report entitled, “It Shouldn’t Be a Heavy Lift: Fair Treatment for Pregnant Workers,” states that thirty-five years after the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 was passed, pregnant employees are still experiencing workplace discrimination. As a result, such women reportedly suffer decreased income, job loss, benefit loss, and dangerous pregnancy complications.
Sadly, pregnancy discrimination is apparently on the rise. In 2011, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received nearly 6,000 pregnancy discrimination complaints. During the same year, more than $17 million were paid by employers to settle the claims. The new report was created to influence lawmakers to pass additional protections for pregnant workers by highlighting the workplace pregnancy discrimination that was suffered by eight different women. Dina Bakst, Co-President of A Better Balance, stated many pregnant workers who experience discrimination are employed in male-dominated or low-wage industries that offer very little flexibility.
According to Emily Martin, Vice-President of the National Women’s Law Center, because pregnancy is not a recognized disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) many employers mistakenly believe they are not required to provide workplace accommodations for pregnant workers. Martin said 2008 changes to the ADA require employers to accommodate temporary disabilities and pregnancy should be included. Still, authors of the report claim pregnant workers are frequently denied restroom breaks and requests to sit or avoid heavy lifting.
Although employers in New York and across the United States are forbidden from discriminating against a pregnant employee, such discrimination is reportedly all too common. Whenever an employer treats a pregnant worker unfavorably or in a prejudicial manner as a result of her pregnancy or a related medical condition, discrimination has occurred. It is important to remember that pregnancy discrimination can take many forms. Examples of discriminatory behavior may include an employer who refuses to hire a pregnant employee, a supervisor who disciplines a pregnant worker over pregnancy-related medical leave requests, and any situation in which an employee’s opportunity for advancement and promotion is directly impacted by her pregnancy status. If you were the victim of workplace pregnancy discrimination, you should speak with a quality attorney who can help you protect your rights.
The knowledgeable 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 hardworking attorneys will fight to protect your rights at the city, state, and federal levels. To schedule a free, confidential consultation with a caring advocate, do not hesitate to give our experienced lawyers a call at (212) 248-7431 or contact us through our website today.
More Blog Posts:
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
New York and Other Senators Introduce Federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, New York Employment Attorney Blog, May 29, 2013
Discrimination against pregnant workers has been rising, report says, by Brigid Schulte, Washington Post