Can I be “released” from a position due to pregnancy?

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Can I be “released” from a position due to pregnancy?

I am a costume designer who, for the past 4 years, has worked at a school in NYC. I design 4 shows a year for this school. This fall, after informing them I was pregnant, we agreed upon a plan to follow as I neared my due date. The plan was that I would over hire an assistant from my own wages and that person would take over for the final week of the project. I would then return for the third and fourth projects. A few weeks before project #2 began, my boss “released” me from job #3 saying I was “naive about the demands of pregnancy since I had never had a child before”. I have not been unable to do my job. I did not ask for a leave.

Asked on February 3, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You should speak with an employment law attorney: you may have a case for illegal discrimination. The law prohibits discriminating against women on the basis of pregnancy. If you could not do the job, that would be one thing--it is not discrimination to terminate the employment of someone who cannot work; the law does not make employers retain or pay people who cannot or do not work. But if you were able to do the work or job as agreed with the employer, then the employer taking action against you could be illegal discrimination.


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