A Legal Toolkit for Women's Economic Equality

Guidance for Women and Advocates in New York State

A Legal Toolkit for Women's Economic Equality

Women continue to be undervalued and are regularly subjected to unfair treatment in the workplace. While women often accept these conditions as inevitable, it is important to remember that it doesn’t have to be this way. ALL women—regardless of economic situation or immigration status—have certain legal rights.

This Toolkit provides guidance to women and advocates in New York State on 13 core issues that relate to women’s economic equality, including ways to assert those rights. Note that this Toolkit is for informational purposes and is not intended to provide legal advice.

Download the full Toolkit here or see our Checklist below to download specific sections. 

Download the Complete Toolkit

Table of Contents

  • Legal Checklist for Women’s Economic Equality
    This Checklist provides a synopsis of the 13 rights, protections, and benefits covered in this Legal Toolkit.

    Download Checklist

  • Sex & Gender Discrimination
    You have the right not to be discriminated against at work on the basis of your sex or gender. This right is fundamental and encompasses many of the specific protections below. The law also protects you based on your gender identity, sexual orientation, and familial status.

    Download Chapter 1

  • Sexual Harassment
    You have the right to a workplace free of sexual harassment and abuse. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination.

    Download Chapter 2

  • Equal Pay
    The law prohibits employers from paying you less because of your sex or gender. This type of treatment is a form of sex discrimination. Your employer is also prohibited from punishing you for discussing or disclosing rates of pay with your colleagues, and, depending on where you work, an employer may be prohibited from asking about or relying on your prior salary to set your new salary.

    Download Chapter 3

  • Minimum Wage & Fair Wage Practices
    You have the right to be paid for your work. It is illegal for your employer to steal your wages, pay you below the state minimum wage, or force you to work for no wages.

    Download Chapter 4

  • Economic Opportunity
    It is unlawful for a lender or financial institution o deny you a loan or financing ba ed on your sex or gender. Resources are available to help you find a job; imp ove your finances; sta t a business; and obtain education, language, and skills trainings to get a job, including jobs in higher paying fields

    Download Chapter 5

  • A Safe Workplace & Fair Working Conditions
    You have the right to a safe workplace free from hazards that could cause you serious harm and free from coercive working conditions. Depending on your circumstances, you may also be entitled to certain fair work practices such as breaks, days of rest, sick time, leave, and fair scheduling.

    Download Chapter 6

  • Domestic Violence, Sexual Assaults & Stalking
    It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against you in the workplace based on your status as a victim of domestic violence. Depending on where you live, additional protections may exist, including protections for victims of sexual assault or stalking, that can help you keep or leave your job while addressing the abuse.

    Download Chapter 7

  • Reproductive & Maternal Health
    You have the right to a safe and confidential abo tion until your 24th week of pregnancy or at any point medically necessary to protect your life or health. If you receive Medicaid or have health insurance, your provider must cover critical family planning services, including contraception and abortion services at no additional cost.

    Download Chapter 8

  • Pregnancy, Childbirth & Breastfeeding
    It is unlawful for an employer to treat you less favorably in the workplace on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition. This type of treatment is a form of sex discrimination. An employer is also prohibited from discriminating against workers for pumping breast milk at work and you have the right to take breaks to do so. Depending on your situation, you may have the right to additional workplace protections to adjust your working conditions or to take paid or unpaid leave if needed.

    Download Chapter 9

  • Paid Family Leave
    If you have worked enough days and hours, you have the right to paid, job-protected leave to care for a newborn, a newly adopted child, or a sick family member, or to address certain family needs that result from military deployment. You may also have the right to other forms of leave to assist you with caring for yourself and your family.

    Download Chapter 10

  • Child Care Assistance & Protections for Caregivers
    It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against you because you have children. Based on your income, you may be eligible for child care assistance to help you get or keep a job.

    Download Chapter 11

  • Public Benefits
    Based on your income, you may be eligible for critical public benefits, including ca h assistance, food assistance, free healthcare, and housing assistance. If your benefits a e denied or terminated, you must be informed in advance and have an opportunity to contest the determination. if you do not speak English and need assistance, you can request language assistance (translation and interpretation).

    Download Chapter 12

  • Protecting Our Rights Together
    You may have certain rights and opportunities to organize, join a union, and take action with other workers to improve your pay and working conditions without being punished by your employer.

    Download Chapter 13

  • Additional Resources
    A list of additional resources to help you: find out if you have certain rights, determine if your rights have been violated, figure out how to assert your rights, or decide if you need legal representation.

    Download Resources