Is Your Employment Contract Up-to-date with Current Laws?
Making work accommodations for a pregnant woman is something not all employers are aware of doing.
In fact, a recent article entitled “More Parents than Ever Are Suing Their Employers for Discrimination–and Winning” gave an example of a municipality that was the subject of an EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) claim for this reason.
In 2017, a pregnant policewoman working for the Cromwell, Connecticut police force went to her police chief asking for accommodations due to her pregnancy. She was five months pregnant and provided information including a doctor’s note and a list of work she could do at a desk job. Her union representative accompanied her when she made the request. The chief’s response was that there would be no accommodation because it was not in the contract.
The policewoman missed four months of work, filed a complaint through the EEOC and Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. A settlement was reached that reimbursed her wages and paid-time-off benefits lost during pregnancy. As part of the settlement, the police force also agreed to incorporate policies that would protect future pregnant employees.
Be Aware of NY State Guidelines and Work Accommodations for Pregnant Women
New York Human Rights Law specifically requires that employers must reasonably accommodate the medical needs of employees with disabilities, including temporary disabilities. Pregnancy related disabilities fall under the category of temporary disabilities.
In addition, any restrictions that a medical doctor advises for a pregnant woman triggers the employer’s obligation to accommodate the woman based on the NY Human Rights Law. Accommodations would include:
- Worksite accessibility
- Acquisition or modification of equipment
- Job restructuring
- Sitting to do a job that normally required standing
- Similar work environment adjustments
Do You Reasonably Accommodate Pregnant Employees?
Failing to adhere to NY Human Rights Law could be costly for your business. At Stephen Hans & Associates, our attorneys work with employers to help them make legal changes in employment contracts and other policies. We also represent business owners in employment litigation.