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Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer In California

After careful planning and preparation for your new child with your partner, including setting up the baby room, creating a financial plan for college, and scheduling your leave of absence, you may, unfortunately, encounter a situation where some employers harbor discriminatory attitudes towards pregnant women. This form of discrimination is known as pregnancy discrimination. This webpage provides comprehensive information on the following topics:

  • What is the definition of pregnancy discrimination?
  • The federal and California pregnancy discrimination acts
  • What can a lawyer recover for you?
  • What should pregnant employees do to prepare?

What is the Definition of Pregnancy Discrimination?

Pregnancy discrimination can take on various forms, occurring when an employer discriminates against a pregnant employee or someone who intends to become pregnant. A pregnancy discrimination lawyer can cite several examples of how this type of discrimination may manifest:

  1. She refuses to hire a qualified applicant solely because of her pregnancy status.
  2. You are denying a pregnant employee opportunities for promotion or scheduled pay increases.
  3. Preventing an employee from taking time off for necessary medical check-ups related to pregnancy.
  4. She is terminating an employee’s employment due to her pregnancy.
  5. Not permitting the pregnant employee to take leave for pregnancy-related disabilities.
  6. Failing to provide reasonable accommodations to enable the pregnant employee to perform her job duties.
  7. Making adverse employment decisions specifically based on the employee’s pregnancy.
  8. We are reducing the pregnant employee’s work hours unfairly.
  9. I am demoting the employee unfairly.
  10. She is acting to pressure the pregnant employee into quitting her job.

The California & Federal Protections

As detailed below, pregnancy discrimination is strictly prohibited by both the federal and California pregnancy discrimination acts. To understand these acts comprehensively and address specific questions, seeking counsel from a pregnancy discrimination lawyer is strongly advised. Some important matters that a lawyer can help clarify are:

  1. Coverage: Identifying which employers and employees are protected by these laws, ensuring you know your rights.
  2. Pregnancy Leave Eligibility: Determining under which act you qualify for pregnancy leave, ensuring you know the appropriate provisions.
  3. Concurrent Leave: Exploring whether you can take leave concurrently under multiple acts or in addition to one another, understanding the extent of your entitlements.

California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)

In California, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) includes a pregnancy discrimination act that applies to employers with five or more employees. This law comprises two significant provisions. The first one can be found in C.A. Government Code § 12940(a), which explicitly states that employers are illegal to discriminate based on an individual’s sex. The term “sex” encompasses pregnancy as well. This provision represents California’s primary pregnancy discrimination law.

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California: Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDL)

The second key aspect of this law is Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL). This provision permits female employees to take up to 4 months of unpaid maternity leave if incapacitated due to pregnancy, childbirth, or any related medical condition. It mandates that employers must grant female employees leave for up to 4 months in the following situations:

  1. When the employee is incapacitated as a result of pregnancy.
  2. When the employee is incapacitated due to childbirth.
  3. When the employee experiences a medical condition connected to pregnancy or childbirth.

California Family Rights Act (CFRA)

Under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), a female employee is entitled to take up to 12 weeks of annual family care and medical leave, including the option to take time off for bonding with a newly born, adopted, or fostered child. This leave can be taken in addition to any pregnancy disability leave previously utilized, granting a total of seven months of maternity leave. It is important to highlight that not all employers can be covered under this act.

Federal: Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) is an amendment to the federal law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It offers protection against discrimination based on the following:

  1. Pregnancy
  2. Childbirth
  3. Related medical conditions

Employers must treat employees experiencing these conditions equally to those facing similar circumstances. This means pregnant employees cannot be singled out or treated differently. The PDA emphasizes the importance of equal treatment for pregnant employees and other employees with comparable disabilities.

Suppose an employer permits temporarily disabled employees on disability or unpaid leave. In that case, they must also grant the same privileges to a pregnant employee experiencing a temporary disability due to her pregnancy. A covered break ensures that the employer keeps the job position open for the employee to return to and cannot prevent her from returning to her job when she is ready, even before the designated return date.

Federal: Family Medical and Leave Act of 1993

According to the pregnancy discrimination act, a new parent, whether through biological, foster, or adoptive means, qualifies for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. To better understand the coverage provided by the federal pregnancy discrimination act, you can visit the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website. Additionally, if you’re interested in exploring recent pregnancy-related cases, the EEOC has compiled a list containing some for reference.

What Can Be Recovered by a Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer?

Securing the services of a lawyer is crucial if you believe you have faced discrimination. Pregnancy discrimination lawyers are skilled in advocating for your rights and will diligently build your case to address the following grievances:

  1. Unfair job placement (if not hired due to discrimination).
  2. Denied promotion opportunities.
  3. Recovery of back pay and lost benefits.
  4. Compensation for emotional distress (compensatory damages).
  5. Additional punitive damages to discourage future discrimination.
  6. Coverage for pregnancy discrimination lawyers’ fees.
  7. Payment for expert witness fees.
  8. Reimbursement of court costs.

Our accomplished pregnancy discrimination lawyers boast extensive trial experience in court. If you require assistance, don’t hesitate to contact our office for a consultation.

What to Do as an Employee Who is Pregnant or Thinking About Becoming Pregnant

To safeguard yourself from becoming a victim of pregnancy discrimination, consider taking these precautionary steps:

  1. Familiarize Yourself with the Laws: Educate yourself on the relevant laws concerning pregnancy discrimination, ensuring you understand your rights.
  2. Document Your Job Description: Make sure your job description is clearly written and kept up to date, providing a reference point if needed.
  3. Know Your Pregnancy Leave Policy: Familiarize yourself with your employer’s pregnancy leave policy, often outlined in the employee handbook.
  4. Inform Your Employer: When the time comes, inform your employer about your pregnancy so that necessary arrangements can be made for intermittent leave, such as for morning sickness, medical checkups, or related conditions.

Protect Your Rights:

  1. Equal Treatment: You can be considered for promotions if eligible, regardless of your pregnancy status.
  2. Fair Hiring: You should be hired for a job based on your qualifications, even if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, as long as you are the most qualified candidate.
  3. Maternity Leave: You are entitled to receive maternity leave under applicable federal or state laws for which you qualify.
  4. Equal Treatment: Be treated equally to other employees in all aspects of employment.
  5. Job Security: You can return to your job after covered pregnancy leave.

Ensure a Joyful Time:

Knowing your rights and ensuring your employer complies with the laws can help maintain the joy of this time. If you face discrimination, don’t hesitate to contact our law office for a consultation with one of our experienced employment lawyers.

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