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Bus drivers say MTA won't ac­com­modate high-risk preg­nancies

By Samantha Liebman New York City

PUBLISHED 7:17 PM ET Apr. 30, 2024

Several bus drivers say New York City Transit is violating state and city human rights laws by not accommodating their high-risk pregnancies.

Some say they should be assigned less intensive work. 

What You Need To Know

  • Five bus drivers are suing New York City Transit for not making reasonable accommodations for them when they could no longer do their jobs due to pregnancy

  • The MTA says they formed a task force, made up of management and labor, to work things out but instead the employees sued

  • The lawsuit claims there are plenty of other light-duty jobs the women can do, but NYCT refuses to allow the pregnant women to do them

Theresa Rodriguez is a New York City Transit Bus Driver who has a high-risk pregnancy. 

“Right now, I’m currently struggling financially due to being unpaid,” Rodriguez, who is about three weeks away from giving birth, said. “I just found out the other day that my FMLA that’s supposed to be used throughout the year after I have my baby has been used up due to being out of work for two-and-a-half months.”

She said she had to exhaust her FMLA, or paid family leave, because she was not given reasonable accommodation when she couldn’t perform her job.

Fellow pregnant bus operator Latoya Christian says she’s stuck in the same situation.

“I was very nauseous from the bouncing of the bus. I had to get off the bus to vomit, call for personnel, get back on the bus,” Christian, who is due in July, said. “Do you know how much a disruption of service that is? It didn’t make sense.”

Both women came to the MTA’s April board meeting to confront management, after already filing a lawsuit against the agency, claiming it’s a violation of state and city human rights law.

MTA Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber reiterated their commitment to women, citing the number of female leaders within the agency. However, General Counsel Page Graves address the suit.

“This issue of accommodation was assigned to a joint labor and management task force to address these issues and discuss how things can be improved,” Graves said. “However, it went into litigation.”

In the suit, the women say there are plenty of jobs to accommodate them, including driving shorter distances and desk-duty positions, but they claim New York City Transit refuses to consider filling them with pregnant woman.

“I feel like they need to come to the realization that they’re hiring more and more woman,” Rodriguez said. “So, they need to come up with something.”

Neither of the women will have any paid maternity leave because of this. They’re two of five women who filed suit against New York City Transit.

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