Under California law, expectant mothers have certain rights under the Family Medical Leave Act, the California Family Rights Act, the Pregnancy Disability Act, and the Department of Fair Employment and Housing Act.
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act protects against pregnancy discrimination by prohibiting employers from harassing, terminating, or otherwise discriminating against an employee on account of becoming pregnant. The law is applicable against all California employers with five or more full-time employees and requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for their pregnant employees, such as accommodating the employee’s medical appointments and medical restrictions.
Additionally, the California Pregnancy Disability Leave Law requires that certain employers provide up to four months of leave for pregnancy or pregnancy related conditions. Upon return from leave, the employer is required to provide the same job back or a substantially comparable position. Unfortunately, many employers try to evade this requirement by stating that the position was eliminated or demoting the employee to another position.
Once a woman gives birth, the employee may be entitled to an additional 12 weeks of leave under the California Family Rights Act, but only if the employer has more than 50 employees within a 75-mile radius and whether the employee worked more than 12 months or 1250 hours. An employer is not allowed to interfere with your right to take leave for pregnancy or to care for your newborn child.
In one case we handled, an employee was placed temporarily to work in a fabric warehouse. After three months of working with fabrics, the temporary employee informed her employer she was pregnant. On the same day, her employer terminated her employment. Her employer claimed it was never informed of the pregnancy and it fired her because she suffered from allergies to fabric. But the employer could not explain how she managed to work there for three months beforehand with the allergies and did not have an explanation for why it did not consult with a doctor to see if she could be treated before terminating her. Despite her being a temporary employee placed by an agency just a few months before, Bibiyan Law Group obtained a six-digit settlement for her.
Discrimination on the basis of pregnancy is not uncommon. Employers often see pregnant employees as costly because of time they may miss to attend doctors’ appointments, work restrictions that often accompany pregnant employees, and time missed for delivery, recovery and baby bonding. This conundrum often leaves pregnant employees having to choose between their own health and the health of their baby, on the one hand, and maintaining employment, on the other hand. This is not a fair decision for someone to make just because they are pregnant.
If you have been subjected to unlawful harassment or pregnancy discrimination, with the help of an experienced employment lawyer, you may be further entitled to damages for emotional distress and attorneys’ fees. Your employer may argue that you would have been terminated whether or not you were pregnant and you will thus need an experience Los Angeles Discrimination Lawyer to advocate on your behalf. Please contact our office if you require further information or would like the Bibiyan Law Group to represent you. We will fight for you to make sure you don’t have to choose between your job and your health or the health of your baby.