Articles Posted in Pregnancy Discrimination

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As the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office clearly stated in a recent press release, “No parent should be forced to choose between their job and caring for or breastfeeding their child… New Jersey law protects a parent’s right to take leave to care for a newborn child and to return to the same position after leave. It also protects a parent’s right to breastfeed a child.” As an expectant parent, you know that those first weeks and months are something that you can never experience again with that child, and that the bonding that takes place during those early months is vitally important to your child. When you suffer workplace harm because you took leave following your delivery, or because you’re breastfeeding your baby, that’s against the law. Take action by contacting an experienced New Jersey employment attorney right away.

One way you can help yourself when you are expecting a child is by knowing your rights. A recent case that was reported by the Hudson Reporter is a good illustration of how helpful knowing your rights when it comes to family leave can be.

Here in New Jersey, you are entitled to take up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period (if you’ve worked at least 1,250 hours during the last 12 months) under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) gives you up to 12 weeks of leave in a 24-month period if you’ve worked at least 1,000 hours in the previous 12 months.

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In 2014, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act became law in New Jersey. That law amended the Law Against Discrimination to go further to combat pregnancy discrimination, and work to eradicate unequal treatment of pregnant women in the workplace (among other places.) The PWFA may be an important aid to you in winning a pregnancy discrimination case. If you have been the victim of pregnancy discrimination at work, an experienced New Jersey pregnancy discrimination attorney who is well-versed in the PWFA and other pregnancy discrimination laws can help.

One recent pregnancy discrimination case that did involve the PWFA was the lawsuit launched by K.D., a police officer. When K.D. found out she was pregnant with her second child, she promptly notified her supervisors that her doctor had advised that she be taken off patrol.

The police department granted the officer’s request for a light-duty assignment but, in accordance with department policy, K.D. could only begin working her light-duty assignment after she had first used up every single hour of vacation, holiday and personal leave time she had accumulated during her entire time on the force.

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Earlier this fall, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s relatively brief stint as a New Jersey educator became a “hot” topic in the news, especially in relation to the issue of pregnancy discrimination. According to Sen. Warren, her employment as a speech pathologist in Morris County ended in June 1971 when her principal told her she would not be returning in the fall. Warren was six months pregnant at the time.

One might like to think that we’ve moved past the point of employers thinking that, simply because a woman becomes pregnant, that her pregnancy makes her physically feeble, emotionally unstable or otherwise incapable of doing her job. Or that, just because a woman is “showing,” she should not be seen in a workplace. Unfortunately, in too many situations, you’d be wrong to think that. Fortunately, there are laws in New Jersey to protect workers harmed by pregnancy discrimination. If you’re been victimized by this kind of mistreatment, be sure to sure reach out to an experienced New Jersey pregnancy discrimination attorney without delay to discover what legal options may be available to you.

S.P. was a woman who allegedly faced this kind of harm at work. According S.P.’s court documents (Essex County Superior Court Law Division Docket No. L-296-19), a few weeks after she began working for a dermatological medical practice, she told her employer that she was pregnant.

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When you have been the victim of workplace discrimination and were constructively discharged in New Jersey, there are several things that you will need, in terms of evidence, in order to achieve a successful result. As one example, the law requires you to have done everything reasonable in your power to remain employed. If your employer has proof that seems to show you didn’t, you’re going to need sufficient proof to overcome that, or else you may not be able to get the compensation you need.

As with many cases, it comes down to having strong evidence that supports your position and effective proof that blunts what your employer is trying to assert. To make sure you have everything you need to prove the elements of your case, be sure one of the things you have is legal representation from a skilled New Jersey employment attorney.

C.L. was someone asserting a discrimination claim and a constructive discharge in New Jersey. During her first year as a medical resident, C.L. became pregnant. Late in her first year of residency, the resident miscarried and missed the final three months of that first year. Despite the absence, the program advanced C.L. to second-year resident status, including the corresponding raise in pay.

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Whether it is modern restaurant establishments like “Hooters” (and other similar chains) that rose to fame in the 1990s, or more vintage businesses like the Playboy Clubs of the 1960s, some businesses have offered visitors female employees dressed in tight and/or revealing uniforms for many decades.

Whether they are/were employing “Hooters Girls” or Playboy “Bunnies”, these kinds of employers are obviously seeking to create a certain atmosphere at their businesses. However, is there a point at which the rules imposed by this type of employer may constitute a form of illegal harassment or discrimination under New Jersey law? A recent ruling from the Appellate Division court indicates that the answer may be “yes.”

The recent case involved 21 women who worked as “Babes” at an Atlantic City casino and spa. At the casino, Babes, who worked as beverage servers, could be male or female. The program required all Babes to adhere to strict appearance standards. Male Babes were expected to have broad shoulders and a slim waist. Female Babes were required to maintain a “natural hourglass shape.”

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Starting or growing your family through a pregnancy should be an exciting and gratifying experience. The same should be true about pursuing your chosen career field, before, during and after your pregnancy. Too many times, that doesn’t happen. An employer’s concerns about the wrong things regarding a pregnant employee – from the well-meaning (Can she handle the physical strain? Will her job duties impact her pregnancy negatively?) to the not-so-well-meaning (How much leave time is she going to take? How much is this going to cost the company?) lead to wrong decisions that harm the employee.

If you believe your employer treated you improperly and did so because of your pregnancy or pregnancy-related condition, you probably are angry, you may be scared, and you may feel uncertain about where to turn for answers. Start by reaching out to a knowledgeable New Jersey employment attorney with experience handling pregnancy discrimination cases.

B.M. was a woman facing this type of situation at work. When this blog last covered B.M.’s case in 2017, the EEOC had just filed a federal civil action in the District of New Jersey against B.M.’s employer. This March, the EEOC announced that it and the employer had worked out a settlement, which included a cash payment to B.M. for the harm she suffered.

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The situation of pregnant women or new mothers suffering discrimination at work as a result of their pregnancies is, unfortunately, an all-too-common scenario, both inside and outside New Jersey. An employer decides that an employee’s pregnancy has rendered her insufficiently productive when it comes to growing the employer’s bottom line, and so it seeks out an excuse to fire her.

Fortunately, both federal and New Jersey laws prohibit employers from taking adverse employment actions against pregnant (or new mother) employees because of their pregnancies or conditions related to their pregnancies. This can include a wide array of things, and the possibility of discrimination doesn’t end with the birth of the baby. An employer can be liable for pregnancy discrimination if it engages in illegal discrimination against an employee based upon her status as a breastfeeding mother, as an example. If you think you’ve been harmed in this kind of way at your job, fight back by reaching out to an experienced New Jersey employment attorney about your case.

Once you’ve decided to pursue your pregnancy discrimination case, the timing of events, and proof of that timing, can go a long way toward making your case and entitling you to a positive outcome. The case of a woman named K.J., reported by Business Insider, was an example. K.J. had started in the Monroe Township office of her employer, an insurer, in 2006 as a field service coordinator. In 2008, the employer promoted her to an operations manager position. In 2012, K.J. was promoted again, rising to become Regional Executive Director, according to the report.

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Modern technology can be both a great help and a hindrance sometimes. One way in which it is potentially beneficial is by providing a means for recording things in a moment’s notice, which may be extremely helpful if a situation evolves into a lawsuit. In an auto accident, you may use your device to record the accident scene, which may help your personal injury attorney later. In an employment dispute, your smartphone may help you record conversations that will later be key proof that you were fired, not for some legitimate reason, but due to illegal discrimination. Whatever amount and type of evidence you may have recorded, a skilled New Jersey employment attorney can help you take the proof and use it to your maximum benefit.

An example of modern technology in action was the case of T.S., an activity aide at a nursing home in South Jersey. According to the Attorney General’s Division on Civil Rights, T.S.’s employment transpired like this: She started her activity aide job in July 2017. On her second day at work, the aide told her employer that she was pregnant. Her supervisor allegedly told her that day that “it would be a ‘liability’” for her to stay and that she should go home, nj.com reported.

According to T.S., she then contacted the employee who gave her hours for the first two days. That employee allegedly told her not to return to work and that she’d been terminated as a result of her pregnancy.

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The New York City Council made headlines recently as a result of two new bills it passed. Those new bills related to a very important, although still emerging, area when it comes to protecting employees from impermissible sex discrimination. That area is discrimination against lactating mothers. The new bills require employers in the city, who have 15 or more employees, to create an appropriate place to nurse or express breast milk. The other bill requires those same employers to craft a written lactation policy and to provide that policy to all new hires. Lactating employees in New Jersey already have many of these protections. If you think that you’ve suffered discrimination at work due to your breastfeeding, or your employer has failed to accommodate your breastfeeding properly, reach out to a New Jersey employment attorney to discover more about what options you may have.

The New York City bill regarding a lactation space set out some very specific requirements designed to protect lactating employees’ privacy and to allow them to express breast milk in a reasonably safe and comfortable space. The bill says that the space for lactation must be someplace other than a bathroom, that it must be sanitary and that it must be “shielded from view and free from intrusion.”

The bill requires the space to have certain minimum accessories, such as an electrical outlet, a chair, a sink and a surface that can accommodate a breast pump. The bill doesn’t require employers to dedicate a space exclusively for lactation, but if a lactating employee is using the room, it cannot be used for other things while that employee is nursing or “pumping.”

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Recent events and recent reporting by some major media outlets have placed a New Jersey lawsuit and a New Jersey-based major corporation in the news. It has also put the issue of workplace pregnancy discrimination in New Jersey in the spotlight. Pregnancy discrimination on the job can take many different forms. Whatever the form, it is damaging (whether professionally, personally or both), inappropriate for a professional setting and should not be tolerated. Whether the discrimination you suffer is the result of malevolence or a misguided sense of “looking out for you” as a pregnant woman, it is wrong. If you’ve suffered pregnancy discrimination at work, contact a knowledgeable New Jersey discrimination attorney right away to find what legal options exist for you.

A few months ago, the New York Times reported on the prevalence of pregnancy discrimination among even the country’s largest employers. One of the workers interviewed within the article was a woman who worked as a sales representative for a major New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company. According to the rep, she was a highly successful and awarding winning member of the sales team when she became pregnant in 2010. Just weeks before the representative was scheduled to delivery her baby, the employer laid her off, allegedly as part of a “downsizing.” “On paper, I was the same professional that I was nine months earlier,” the woman told the Times. Her pregnancy “was the only thing that was different” she said.

After the lay-off, the rep eventually got a new job with the employer, but at lower pay and less potential for bonuses, according to the report. Based upon this adverse employment action, she decided to take legal action against the employer. She joined the lawsuit of another female sales rep who was already pursuing the pharmaceutical company in court. That representative, K.S., asserted in her complaint that a male co-worker informed her that she was “not going anywhere” with the company once she became pregnant. Allegedly, K.S., who had won multiple awards within the company, was demoted to the lowest sales rep tier after she returned from maternity leave.

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