The emotional and physical challenges associated with a pregnancy can be challenging. However, women who are subjected to negative treatment at work because of their pregnancy, or because they have medical needs due to their pregnancy, can be overwhelmed by a sense of anger, injustice and fear.
Typically, pregnancy discrimination is subtle. Pregnancy discrimination is a form of sex discrimination. Under California law, expectant mothers and mothers who had just given birth have certain rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and Pregnancy Disability Act, and are also protected under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) against pregnancy discrimination and harassment. These statutes give women strong protections against discrimination and harassment in the workplace.
Pregnancy is supposed to be a joyous and exciting period in a woman’s life. Awaiting the arrival of a new child should be nine months of excitement and anticipation. It should not be a time of stress due to hostility and harassment in the workplace. Unfortunately, many pregnant women are treated differently at work. In many cases, this treatment is illegal.
Pregnant women frequently suffer from medical conditions related to their pregnancy. An employer cannot discriminate against women who are suffering from conditions relating to their pregnancy. Under California law, all employers must make reasonable accommodations for their pregnant employees. Employers are required to ensure that the pregnant worker is granted more rest breaks during the workday. They are required to make sure that a pregnant woman is permitted to see their OB-GYN during the workday as needed. If the mother decides to go on maternity leave, the employer must give her the same job back, or a comparable position, when she returns. In almost cases, it is illegal for an employer to eliminate the returning mother’s position, or to demote her to another position, or to harass her upon her return to work.
Under California Family Rights Act, medical leave is permitted for workers who need time off to take care of a serious health condition relating to their pregnancy, take care of a family member with a serious health condition, or to take care of a newborn, adopted or foster child. If your employer is not allowing you time off to take care of your newborn after pregnancy, or is not allowing you to miss work to treat your own medical condition, you have certain rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act, California Family Rights Act and the California Pregnancy Disability Act.
Under California law, you may be entitled to take unpaid leave following your pregnancy to take care of your newborn child, without being terminated from your job. Employers must also provide the same benefits to pregnant workers who need temporary disability leave, and it is illegal for an employer to interfere with your right to take a leave for pregnancy or to care for your newborn child.
Some of the most common signs of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace include:
• Termination after learning that the employee is pregnant
• Failure to accommodate for medical appointments due to pregnancy
• Failure to accommodate for physician-ordered rest or breaks from work
• Refusal to comply with medical restrictions ordered by a physician
• Refusal to accommodate requests for family leave during or after pregnancy
• Reducing the mother’s hours, or job responsibilities, or reassigning her to an inferior position during pregnancy or after she returns to work
• Termination or demotion following maternity leave
All of these situations are types of pregnancy discrimination or pregnancy harassment in the workplace. If you have been subjected to any of this treatment, you will need to seek legal representation.
If your employer has violated the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), California Family Rights Act (CFRA), Pregnancy Disability Act or California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), you should hire an experienced employment attorney at Tash Law Group. Contact us for a free consultation.
All employment cases are taken on a contingency fee basis. We do not get paid unless you recover.