Notes From The Neighborhood
Compiled by Anam Baig, Megan Bungeroth & Sean Creamer WEST SIDE LAWMAKER PROTECTS PREGNANT WORKERS Last week, Upper West Side Rep. Jerrold Nadler joined three Democratic co-sponsors in introducing new federal legislation that would provide protections for pregnant woman against unfair job discrimination. Nadler joined fellow New York City Rep. Carolyn Maloney and two others in presenting the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. The bill is supported by 119 advocacy groups from across the nation and has 63 original cosigners. The law would require employers to give reasonable working accommodations for pregnant women and prevent employers from forcing these women onto leave, paid or not, when a reasonable adjustment can be made to their workload. The bill will also relinquish hiring discrimination toward women who are pregnant and in need of certain accommodations related to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. "When American families are struggling to make ends meet, we must do everything we can to keep people in their jobs. This is especially true for pregnant women who are about to have another mouth to feed," said Nadler. "Ensuring that a woman who needs minor and reasonable job adjustments to maintain a healthy pregnancy gets that accommodation should be central to our society's support for strong and stable families." The bill follows the introduction of a similar measure at the state level from State Sen. Liz Krueger. "When pregnant women cannot be provided reasonable accommodations at their workplace, they lose wages and opportunities for advancement, their newborns are disadvantaged and both their employers and the economy as a whole suffer unnecessary losses," Krueger said. The sponsors of the national bill cite recent examples of pregnant women losing their jobs after asking for minor accommodations, like carrying a water bottle or help with certain physical tasks, as the impetus for creating the protections. LAWYERS HONORED BY STATE BAR Two Upper West Side residents were recently recognized by the New York State Bar Association's prestigious 2012 President's Pro Bono Service Awards. The award recognizes lawyers who have provided their expertise and counsel to those who are unfortunate enough to be victim of crimes but cannot afford attorneys. The Bar honored Caroline Heller, a lawyer at the firm Greenberg Traurig, and Natalie Fleming Nolen, who works at Morrison & Foerster, at the Law Day luncheon May 1 at the State Bar Center in Albany. Heller was recognized for her free assistance to victims of domestic abuse in 2011. Nolen received the Young Lawyer award for leading a project within her firm that dealt withHumanitarian Parole for Haitian Women Project, a human rights initiative to assist post-earthquake victims of sexual violence. "The work of pro bono service attorneys makes 'justice for all' a reality for New Yorkers. Whether they are a solo practitioner or work in a large law firm, every lawyer can help solve someone else's problem," said State Bar President Vincent E. Doyle III in a press release. "It is an honor to recognize such a distinguished group of recipients, including Ms. Heller and Ms. Fleming Nolen. They represent the best of our profession." HACKING INTO BREWER'S NEW LAW The city's Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) is holding a Policy Hack day to collaborate on the technical aspects of the implementation of Local Law 11, the Open Data Law, which was sponsored by City Council Member Gale Brewer. The law mandates that the city publishes its databases online in machine-readable formats through a centralized, public website. The event this Saturday, May 19 at 11 a.m. is a day for anyone interested in the open government movement to discuss, plan, hack and draft the technical standards that will be used to execute the law. At Pivotal Labs, 841 Broadway, 8th floor. RSVP at nycopendatapolicyhack.eventbrite.com. TOUCH-A-TRUCK DAY The West Side YMCA is holding its seventh annual Touch-a-Truck Street Fair and Fundraiser this Saturday, May 19. Kids are invited to touch, climb on and sit in a collection of trucks that will gather on West 64th Street between Central Park West and Broadway. Last year's festival attracted almost 2,000 children and had trucks from UPS and FreshDirect, fire trucks, construction machines and old-fashioned buses. There will also be face painting, crafts and activities for kids, food and entertainment. Kids can get unlimited access wristbands for $25 or pay $1 a ticket to access the activities. All proceeds benefit the West Side YMCA. FLIP-FLOP FOR ESPAILLAT'S SEAT City & State reports that as State Sen. Adriano Espaillat's primary run against Rep. Charlie Rangel heats up, insiders have been whispering about the possibility of Northern Manhattan Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez jumping into the race for Senate. Last week, the councilman confirmed to City & State that he was indeed considering announcing a run-until he called back to rescind that statement. If Espaillat prevails in the June 26 primary against Rangel, there will be a fierce battle for his empty Senate seat. Assemblyman Guillermo Linares has already announced his intention to run, as has Democratic district leader Mark Levine. Rodriguez confirmed that he will be supporting Levine in the race if Espaillat's seat opens up.
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