LONG ISLAND, NY – Federal Law requires employers to offer pregnant workers reasonable accommodation – the same types of accommodations that are required to be provided to disabled employees – and treat them the same for all employment-related purposes as other non-pregnant persons similar in their ability or inability to work. However, judicial interpretations of the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act have gutted the intent of the law by providing legal protection only to the extent a pregnant woman is able to work at full capacity, uninterrupted by the effects of pregnancy.
“In order to adequately protect the rights of pregnant workers, it is necessary to create a specific protection in New York State statute requiring employers to provide a reasonable accommodation for pregnancy-related conditions,” said Senator Kemp Hannon (R-Nassau).
“This new law will ensure women are not deprived any of their existing protections under the disability and sex discrimination provisions of the law.”
Kemp Hannon’s bill was signed to ensure that discrimination in the work force aimed at pregnant women will be deterred. Photo: www.kemphannon.com
Conditions related to childbirth and pregnancy can result in impairment requiring accommodation. Some pregnant workers require modest adjustments on the job for conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth in order to stay healthy and keep working. Employees may require a stool to sit on, extra restroom breaks, transfer away from hazardous duties, a temporary reprieve from heavy lifting, or a reasonable time for childbirth recovery.
“Accommodations as simple as a stool, bathroom breaks, or carrying a water bottle, can enable a woman to work safely throughout her pregnancy, so that she continues to obtain a paycheck at such a critical time in her life,” said Hannon.
Hannon’s bill was signed into law by Governor Cuomo as part of a series of bills that aim to ensure equality for women in the workplace and provide stronger laws for victims of domestic violence. The bills include steps to fight human trafficking, ensure equal pay for equal work, combat sexual harassment in the workplace and curb gender discrimination in employment, housing and credit decisions.
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