Employment concerns

August 22, 2011

I was fired, denied medical leave, or have experienced discrimination in my workplace because I’m a woman/pregnant/have family responsibilities. What should I do? Where can I find a low-cost or pro bono lawyer who specializes in employment rights?

Pregnancy discrimination in the workplace is a serious and ongoing concern, but we are unfortunately unable to represent clients in employment matters. The resources provided below are for reference only:


* U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission - information about pregnancy discrimination.

* You may be covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) - find more information from the US Department of Labor.

* National Employment Lawyers Association - “Find a Lawyer” search engine.

* Legal Momentum: The Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund. Due to funding cuts it can no longer take on new cases, but has a variety of publications available to download for free on their website.

* WorkLife Law: a Center of UC Hastings College of the Law. The WorkLife Law Hotline is a free service designed to help parents and other family caregivers who may be facing employment discrimination because of their family responsibilities. You can email them at hotline@worklifelaw.org or call their hotline at (415) 703-8276.

* National Women's Law Center (NWLC) (202-588-5180) works on laws and policies for women and families. In collaboration with A Better Balance, ACLU, CA Women's Law Center, Equal Rights Advocates, Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center, Legal Momentum, and National Partnership for Women and Families, NWLC is working to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

New York

* New York State Division of Human Rights - explains how to file a complaint in New York.

* Law firm Outten & Golden - all areas of employment law. Offices in New York, NY (212-245-1000) and Stamford, CT (203-363-7888), Chicago, IL (312-809-7010) and San Francisco, CA (415-638-8800)

* A Better Balance: The Work & Family Legal Center, based in New York, NY (212-430-5982). Issues include sick leave, family leave, fairness in the workplace, and valuing care work. You can also call to set up an appointment to attend their Families at Work legal clinic.

Also see A Better Balance’s “Know Your Rights” Guide

* New York Employment Law Project: Legal Aid Society - provides representation, advice and community education to low wage and unemployed workers. To obtain an appointment from the Employment Law Project, call 888-218-6974.

* New York City Bar Association: Legal Hotline - a free advice hotline for low-income NYC residents on civil legal issues, such as divorce and family matters, consumer law, and public benefits. Provides referrals, but does not provide lawyers for representation. Eligibility is based upon income. (English: 212-626-7383; español: 212-626-7374).

* MFY Legal Services - provides free legal assistance to residents of New York City (212-417-3700). Provides referrals to a variety of organizations.

* New York Civil Liberties Union To receive legal assistance in the state of New York, visit their website or call 212-607-3300. To receive legal assistance elsewhere in the United States and Puerto Rico, find your local ACLU affiliate.

* South Brooklyn Legal Services- An organization that offers legal advocacy for people living in Brooklyn. The organization provides legal services for child care, consumer law, employment/unemployment, family law/ domestic violence, foreclosure prevention, government benefits, HIV, housing, pension benefits, special education, SSI/ disability rights, and taxes. 718-855-0733