How is it fair that an employer can discriminate against an employee because they became pregnant? They can’t! Getting fired or being treated differently at work for being pregnant is wrong and illegal. So, what can you do about it?
Both federal and California state laws prohibit employers from discriminating against pregnant employees based on their pregnancy, the birth of their child, or associated medical conditions. Discrimination can include adverse treatment, such as:
The federal law prohibiting pregnancy discrimination, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), only applies to mid-sized companies. In California, however, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits the same discrimination in companies with five or more employees.
In addition to providing how employers cannot discriminate against pregnant employees, both federal and California law requires employers to provide certain special accommodations for pregnant employees. The federal PDA requires that employers provide the same accommodations for pregnant employees that it must provide for disabled employees under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This is especially important for soon-to-be-mothers that are having medical complications with their pregnancy and require special accommodations.
For regular pregnancies, however, the pregnant employee maybe is defined as temporarily disabled due to pregnancy-related issues. The most common accommodation for an employee experiencing a regular pregnancy is a modification of employment duties from regular to “light” duty. “Light” duty usually has certain restrictions like no heavy lifting and no exposure to dangerous chemicals.
Federal and California law also allows for pregnant employees to take a temporary leave of absence based on pregnancy issues without being fired. Federally, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides that pregnant employees can take leave for up to twelve weeks for the following reasons:
California law provides for additional leave options. Under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), employers are required to grant similar leave time for employees as FMLA. The CFRA, however, requires employers to give more leave time, up to four months, of unpaid time off to employees that cannot work because of their pregnancy, the birth of a child, or medical issues related to pregnancy.
If an employee can receive leave under both federal and California law, they can take both; leave for up to four months for pregnancy disability leave under California law, and then 12 weeks of leave, under federal law.
If you feel that your employer has discriminated against you at work by denying you these rights or you were wrongfully terminated due to your pregnancy or taking related medical leave, then we invite you to call us. The Los Angeles employment lawyers at Azadian Law Group, PC have many years of experience with pregnancy discrimination issues and can make sure you are not denied your rights.