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Pregnancy Discrimination

Wigdor strongly believes that women should be welcomed back to work after childbirth with the same professional opportunities that they had prior to giving birth. Women should also have the same professional choices available to them as working fathers and have workplace treatment equal to that of childless people of all genders. Wigdor successfully represents women who have been treated differently after their employer discovered their pregnancies and/or after they returned to work following maternity leave.

Through a combination of experience, tenacity, and compassion, we assist women who have experienced pregnancy discrimination in navigating the often-confusing legal process. We fight aggressively on their behalf and empower women to obtain their best outcomes. While many cases are resolved through informal negotiation, we have successfully litigated many cases publicly and extensively, and some of our cases have appeared on national television, including The Today Show, Nightline and CNN.

Pregnancy discrimination is treating a woman who is a job applicant or employee unfavorably because she is pregnant or is perceived to be pregnant; has given birth, or has a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. Pregnancy discrimination laws also prohibit an employer from treating a female employee differently because of stereotypes about working mothers. In these cases, discrimination can be proven through a pattern of discriminatory reassignments or “steering” after a woman becomes pregnant or returns from maternity leave, and evidence such as comments that reflect skepticism regarding a commitment to the job.

Pregnancy discrimination is a form of gender discrimination. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act, as well as similar state and local laws, forbids discrimination based on pregnancy in any aspect of employment, including promotions, job assignments, pay, bonuses, hiring, layoff, termination, training, benefits (including leave and health insurance) and any other employment condition or term.

New York State Human Rights Law prohibits an employer from forcing an employee to take a leave of absence while pregnant, unless the employee is unable to perform her normal occupational duties in a reasonable manner. Complications from pregnancy can also permit a woman to collect additional disability benefits under the New York Workers Compensation Law.

New mothers should not be subject to adverse employment actions such as a demotion or being fired because they express breast milk for a newborn child at work. Robust discrimination laws protect women who are lactating and/or breast-pumping in the workplace after childbirth, requiring employers to provide accommodations to lactating mothers and break time to express milk in a room other than a bathroom. However, there is an exception for employers with fewer than 50 total employees who can show that providing these breaks would be an undue hardship. Women who are temporarily unable to perform job duties due to a pregnancy-related medical condition should be treated the same as employees with any temporary disability.

Consult an experienced pregnancy discrimination lawyer to learn more about your rights and options.

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