Pregnancy-Based Discrimination in the NYC Workplace

Pregnancy-Based Discrimination

Pregnancy-based discrimination is a form of gender discrimination under the NYC Human Rights Law. The NYC Commission on Human Rights is responsible for enforcing the Law. They also forbid discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. Furthermore, the Commission recognizes any form of disparate treatment against a woman because she pregnant as pregnancy-based discrimination. This article will explore disparate treatment against pregnant women and the process of proving discrimination.

Proving Disparate Treatment

A person must prove that discriminatory treatment is in part motivated by hostility or ill feeling in order for the Commission to establish it as a violation under the Law. They may show this with direct or indirect evidence. After an individual provides the Commission with evidence of discrimination, the respondent must demonstrate a non-discriminatory justification for their alleged conduct. If the respondent is able to do so, the complainant is then responsible for showing that the non-discriminatory motive is false. The complainant can also use direct evidence to indicate that discrimination motivated the conduct at least a little.

Discriminatory Conduct

Pregnancy-Based Discrimination

Pregnancy-based discrimination can be direct. For example, an employer may fire an employee because she is pregnant. It can also be subtle and patronizing. Subtle discrimination is a violation of the Law because it subjects pregnant employees to poorer treatment. Discriminatory conduct can:

  • – push pregnant employees out of the workforce
  • – hamper earnings
  • – disrupt economic advancement
  • – violate the Law

Gender harassment related to pregnancy is a form of discrimination. It may also consist of a single incident or repeated acts of behavior. Illegal harassment occurs when behavior creates an environment of:

  • – sex stereotyping
  • – degradation
  • – ┬áhumiliation
  • – bias objectification

Additionally, gender harassment related to pregnancy covers a wide range of behavior that treat women less because they are pregnant. While the severity of the conduct is relevant to damages, the existence of disparate treatment based on pregnancy is sufficient under the Law to claim harassment. Finally, harassment can include comments about a pregnant woman’s:

  • – weight or appearance
  • – age in relation to her pregnancy
  • – commitment to the her job
  • – ability to pay attention
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