Carney R. Shegerian, founder of Shegerian & Associates, a Santa Monica-based law firm specializing in employee rights, has issued a statement applauding the New York City Council for unanimously passing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, a bill that ensures current protections against employer discrimination extend to pregnant workers, including the right to reasonable accommodations so that they can continue to work through their pregnancies. The bill expands the city’s Human Rights Law, which applies to all employers with four or more employees, to prevent discrimination against pregnant workers.
“We are always encouraged to see major influential American cities move in the direction of enhanced worker fairness and protection from discrimination,” said Shegerian. “Pregnancy discrimination in the workplace is a very common and serious issue today nationwide and we applaud the lawmakers attempting to help remedy the trend with important new legislation. The bottom line is that employers in the US cannot discriminate against their employees because those employees have become pregnant – but this legislation could help remove barriers from proving that discriminatory behavior that has routinely taken place. We hope that many other cities and regions around the country will pass similar employee protection bills.”
With New York City’s new bill having passed, City employers now must provide reasonable accommodations for the needs of a worker related to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition. Some of those accommodations include rest breaks, assistance with manual labor, and a period of recovery from childbirth. Employers must also provide pregnant workers with a written notice of their rights. If employers fail to grant pregnant workers these rights, employees can bring actions against their employers in civil court for damages and other remedies such as requiring it to change its practices.
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