GOVERNOR SIGNS WOMEN’S EQUALITY AGENDA BILLS INTO LAW, INCLUDING HANNON LEGISLATION TO END WORKPLACE PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION
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. This new law will ensure women are not deprived any of their existing protections under the disability and sex discrimination provisions of the law.
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.
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.
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.
Hannon’s bill was
signed into law by Governor Cuomo as part of the Women's Equality Agenda. That
series of bills highlights an historic year for New York State in the ongoing
campaign to protect, strengthen and further advance women’s rights.
This legislative package was spearheaded by Hannon and the Senate Republican Majority, and as a result of their unyielding pressure and the support of millions of women throughout the state, the following critically important measures will become law:
• A new law to ensure equal pay for women;
• A new law cracking down on sexual harassment in the workplace;
• A new law providing domestic violence victims with a safer, more accessible avenue for obtaining an order of protection;
• A new law, known as the “Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act” that toughens penalties against those who engage in the outrageous crime of human trafficking;
• A new law to prohibit workplace discrimination based on family status, which will protect women from bias in employment, pay and advancement;
• A new law to prohibit discrimination in housing based upon domestic violence status;
• A new law to allow reimbursement of reasonable attorney’s fees in employment and credit discrimination cases when sex is a basis of discrimination; and
• A new law to protect pregnant women from workplace discrimination (Hannon’s bill).