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Employment Law Firm in California

Pregnancy Discrimination Attorney


Fired For Being Pregnant? Take Action And Protect Your Rights

More than 3,100 cases of pregnancy discrimination were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2017, but that figure is skewed because many women are reluctant to ask for the protections they are entitled to. If you were the victim of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace,  you may be entitled to damages for:

1) Pregnancy Discrimination In The Workplace

Pregnancy discrimination is an illegal form of sex and disability discrimination. Pregnancy discrimination occurs when an employer treats a job applicant or employee differently because of pregnancy or pregnancy related conditions.

Can I Get Fired If I’m Pregnant?

An amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 was the first piece of federal legislation clearly stating that a woman cannot be fired because she is pregnant.

Pregnancy Disability Leave, also known as PDL, is leave from work that is intended to accommodate an employee with a pregnancy disability. As a pregnant employee, you are entitled to receive up to four months of PDL. (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 2, § 11042). Please note that this leave is in addition to any other forms of leave you may qualify under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).

It is important to know that your employer cannot fire you because you are pregnant or because you choose to take PDL. Please be aware that PDL will not protect you from any employment actions that have nothing to do with your pregnancy, such as a massive company layoff.

Can I Be Denied A Job Because I’m Pregnant?

Instances of pregnancy discrimination can occur at any point throughout the employment relationship, all the way from hiring to firing. Simply put, it is illegal to refuse to hire a person because she is pregnant. It is also illegal to assign, promote, demote, or fire someone based on their pregnancy.

What Is Considered Pregnancy Discrimination?

Employers rarely come out in the open and engage in blatant pregnancy discrimination. Still, there are many telltale signs you can and should be aware of.

Below is a list of common pregnancy discrimination behaviors seen in the workplace:

Special tests. An employer may not ask you to take special tests to prove you can safely do your job while pregnant. An employer is also not allowed to test a pregnant woman’s job related abilities, unless the employer requests that all employees must take the same tests.
Increase in criticism. If prior to your pregnancy you received positive feedback from your managers, but after announcing your pregnancy you noticed a significant increase in negative feedback, it could be a sign of trouble.
Health care bills: Your employer suddenly says you must pay extra for your health care plan because you’re pregnant.
A pay raise doesn’t come. If you previously discussed a pay raise or bonus with your boss before announcing your pregnancy, and the conversation went silent after you came out with the news, it could be because of your pregnancy.
Your inbox and calendar go silent. Did you notice a sudden dip in work related emails? Maybe you’re no longer included in as many meetings? This could be a sign of workplace exclusion.
Promotion talk comes to an end. Sudden silence can be tough to attribute to discrimination. However, if you notice the promotion you had previously discussed prior to your pregnancy is no longer mentioned, that can indicate a problem.

These are the signs you should pay attention to if you are considering a new job while pregnant:

  • A job interviewer asks if you have children, or if you’re already pregnant, or if you have any intention of becoming pregnant.
  • A potential employer refuses to offer you a job because you are pregnant.
  • A potential employer treats pregnancy related health conditions differently than other temporary disabilities.

2) What If A Pregnant Employee Is Unable To Perform Her Job Duties?

An employer is required to offer a pregnant employee unpaid disability leave of up to four months for the duration of time that she is disabled because of pregnancy, childbirth, or for any related medical conditions. It is illegal to refuse requests for temporary transfer or reasonable accommodation for pregnant employees.

If you cannot perform your job because of your pregnancy, an employer must treat you like they would any other temporarily disabled employee and offer accommodations. Pregnancy, childbirth, and any pregnancy related medical conditions must be treated on an equal basis with all other medical conditions or short-term disabilities.

3) Federal And California Laws That Cover Pregnancy Discrimination

An amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 was the first piece of federal legislation clearly stating that a woman cannot be fired because she is pregnant. FMLA stands for the Family Medical Leave Act. Under the FMLA, a pregnant employee is entitled to receive up to 12 weeks for time off before, during, and after the birth of a child. California law also provides time off under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) for pregnancy disability leave that is separate from FMLA leave time.

Pregnancy Disability Leave, also known as PDL, is leave from work that is intended to accommodate an employee with a pregnancy disability. As a pregnant employee, you are entitled to receive up to four months of PDL. (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 2, § 11042). Please note that this leave is in addition to any other forms of leave you may qualify under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).

Further, if your employer provides more than four months of leave for any other disabilities, your employer must provide you with the same leave, if it is required by your pregnancy-related disability.

Who Is Covered Under The Pregnancy Discrimination Act?

PDA regulations apply to all businesses with fifteen or more employees.

Maternity/Paternity Leave Laws

Under the (FMLA), a pregnant employee is entitled to receive up to 12 weeks for time off before, during, and after the birth of a child. California law also provides time off under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) for pregnancy disability leave that is separate from FMLA leave time.

California offers six weeks of paid leave to new parents. This paid leave, however, only provides for a portion of the father’s income when the leave is taken, and will not cover the entire amount. Further, California doesn’t offer the same protections that the FMLA does.

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a father is eligible for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave throughout the course of a twelve month period for the purposes of caring for a newborn child.

Employer Responsibility Under PDA

The following regulations apply to all businesses with fifteen or more employees:

  • Treats pregnancy, childbirth, and any pregnancy related medical conditions on an equal basis with all other medical conditions or short-term disabilities.
  • An employer cannot establish a policy prohibiting you from returning to work after a predetermined time frame once you have given birth. An employer must also keep a job open for a pregnancy related absence for the same duration of time that all other jobs are held open for any employee who is on disability or sick leave.
  • An employer cannot refuse to hire, promote, or force you to go on leave; they also cannot deny you benefits while you’re on maternity leave, such as vacation days or pay increases.

If you cannot perform your job because of your pregnancy, an employer must treat you like they would any other temporarily disabled employee and offer accommodations.

4) Can I Sue My Employer For Pregnancy Discrimination?

Yes. However, in order to successfully pursue a pregnancy discrimination claim, you need to prove that you were treated differently than other employees in similar situations as your own. However, the difference in the way you were treated must be because of your pregnancy.

Proving Liability In A Pregnancy Discrimination Case

There is more than one way to prove pregnancy discrimination, but the burden will always be the same: you must provide evidence that shows it’s more likely than not that your employer took action against you because you were pregnant.
West Coast Employment Lawyers Is Here to Help

The best course of action is to secure legal advice immediately upon determining that unfair treatment has or is occurring at your workplace. The skilled pregnancy discrimination lawyers at West Coast Employment Lawyers will do everything possible to construct effective arguments to win your case. Our attorneys are committed to helping victims of pregnancy discrimination receive full vindication, fair compensation, and the peace of mind they deserve during what should be one of the most enjoyable and memorable times of their lives.

West Coast Employment Lawyers Is Here to Help

The best course of action is to secure legal advice immediately upon determining that unfair treatment has or is occurring at your workplace. The skilled pregnancy discrimination lawyers at West Coast Employment Lawyers will do everything possible to construct effective arguments to win your case. Our attorneys are committed to helping victims of pregnancy discrimination receive full vindication, fair compensation, and the peace of mind they deserve during what should be one of the most enjoyable and memorable times of their lives.

If you or a loved one has been wrongfully discriminated against or terminated at work due to pregnancy, immediately contact West Coast Employment Lawyers for a free, no-obligation consultation with a pregnancy discrimination lawyer at our firm. You can reach our legal team 24/7 by calling 1-800-247-9235 or emailing info@employmentattorneylosangeles.com.

References

https://www.eeoc.gov/
https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/history/35th/thelaw/civil_rights_act.html
https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/pregnancy.cfm
https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/pregnant_workers.cfm
https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/benefits-leave/fmla
https://ca.db101.org/ca/situations/workandbenefits/rights/program2c.htm
https://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/accommodation.html
https://adata.org/faq/what-definition-disability-under-ada
https://www.dfeh.ca.gov/resources/frequently-asked-questions/employment-faqs/pregnancy-disability-leave-faqs/
https://govt.westlaw.com/calregs/Document/IF05B20ACB3414C21B36A7642A1C1F9B4?viewType=FullText&originationContext=documenttoc&transitionType=CategoryPageItem&contextData=(sc.Default)


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