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Pregnancy Center Sues New York Over Recent Discrimination Law

February 17th, 2020 Victoria Breese

EMC Frontline, a crisis pregnancy center in New York, has sued to prevent the state from enforcing the “Boss Bill,” which the state legislature passed in 2019. The law prohibits employers from discriminating based on an applicant or employee’s beliefs about abortion. Specifically, the law states that employers may not refuse to hire someone based on the “reproductive health decisions” of an applicant or his or her dependents. Additionally, the law forbids employers from accessing “information regarding the employee’s or the dependent’s reproductive health decision making.” Organizations like EMC Frontline with public stances on abortion are outraged over this new discrimination law. 

Pregnancy Center Challenges Enforcement of New Law

EMC Frontline argues that it has the right to refuse to hire people based on their stance on abortion. Under New York’s new law, the pregnancy center’s hiring policy would be illegal. The pregnancy center claims that the law violates the organization’s 1st and 14th Amendment rights. One lawyer for the pregnancy center stated that the organization exists “for the purpose of advocating for and providing desperate women with alternatives to abortion. Forcing them to hire someone who promotes abortion would completely undermine their mission.” The new law has no exemptions for religious or other organizations like EMC Frontline with public stances on abortion. So, we may also see religious organizations challenge this law based on another legally protected category: religious discrimination. If an employer’s stance on abortion is due to its religious beliefs, it may claim that this law violates religious freedom rights. 

Why New York Created A New Category of Discrimination

The bill’s main sponsor in New York’s state Senate, Jennifer Metzger, argued that the state government had a duty to prevent employers’ “personal and political beliefs” from discriminating based on employees’ decisions about reproductive services. The bill passed in the legislature with bipartisan support. The Senator said that “no one should have to fear that they will lose their job or be demoted because of their own, private reproductive health decisions.” Many think the legislature’s action on this issue is a part of New York’s ongoing response to recent laws surrounding the abortion issue across the nation. Time will tell if this new law will be upheld in New York courts, particularly due to the potential conflicts with New York’s laws against religious discrimination. Do you think the state legislature was right in preventing employers from discriminating based on this issue?

Seek Legal Assistance Today

If you have been discriminated against in the workplace, seek legal assistance today. The Working Solutions Law Firm, located in New York City, can assist you. Contact us today at (646) 430-7930 to schedule a free case evaluation and receive experienced legal counsel.