When a woman is pregnant, her employer or prospective employer is legally prohibited from discriminating against her based on her pregnancy status. Unfortunately, many New York employers continue to discriminate against women based on their pregnancy in violation of state and federal workplace employment and discrimination laws.
Pregnancy discrimination occurs when an employer discriminates during interviewing, hiring, promotions, lay-offs, raises, health insurance, firing and allowed leave against a pregnant woman because of her condition. If employers offer health insurance, they must provide coverage for pregnancy and associated medical expenses unless necessary for the life of the mother.
It is unlawful for coworkers, supervisors and others in the workplace to harass a woman because of her pregnancy to an extent it creates a hostile working environment. Employers may also not single out a woman due to pregnancy for special procedures concerning her ability to work unless medical clearance is required for all workers in the same type of position. Finally, people who have been employed for longer than 12 months at an employer with 50 or more employees are eligible to take up to 12 weeks of leave under the Family Medical Leave Act. The employer, however, may not force a woman to take the entire time off following delivery, and the woman's job must be kept open for her until she returns.
Unfortunately, pregnancy discrimination continues in many workplaces, despite the legal prohibitions against it. Additionally, many women are afraid of retaliation if they report the discrimination they have experienced. Employers may not retaliate against a person who reports workplace discrimination. For help, women may benefit by speaking with an employment law attorney who can help the woman through the complaint process with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "Pregnancy Discrimination", November 06, 2014