Learning that you're pregnant is exciting, life-altering news. It can also be time of great anxiety, especially if you are working and want to continue to work. There's some good news and some bad news. The good news is that state and federal laws offer numerous protections for pregnant employees and employees who have recently given birth. The bad news is that many employees are unaware of their legal rights and some employers will take full advantage of this. That is why if you are pregnant and feel like your employer is making improper decisions about you, you should speak with an attorney. Before you make that call, we want you to be generally aware of the rights of pregnant employees in California.
1. Discrimination Prohibited - Simply put, discrimination due to your pregnancy is a violation of your legal rights. For California employees, Government Code 12940(a) provides that it is "unlawful employment practice" for an employer to refuse to select for employment, to bar or discharge a person from employment, or to discriminate against the person regarding compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment based on the sex status of the person. The term "sex" is inclusive of pregnancy and pregnancy-related medical conditions, as well as child-birth and child-birth related medical conditions.
2. Right to Reasonable Accommodations - in accordance with California Government Code Section 12945(3), at a pregnant employee's request and with the advice of the employee's health care provider, the employer shall provide reasonable accommodations for the employee or temporarily transfer the employee to a less stressful or hazardous position.
3. Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) - If a woman is "disabled by pregnancy", she is entitled to take up to 4 months of job-protected leave, during which her employment status remains the same and she continues to receive any group health insurance she was receiving before. She is considered "disabled" if her medical professional has determined that she cannot perform essential job functions because they pose an undue risk to her pregnancy, or she needs to take time off due to a pregnancy-related medical condition.
4. The FMLA and The CFRA - The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) are federal and state acts that entitle employees to take up to twelve weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for events such as the birth of a child or serious health conditions. This is for employees who have worked for at least twelve months for an employer with 50 or more employees, and have worked for 1250 hours during the last twelve months. Significantly, the CFRA does not cover pregnancy related disability as defined under the PDL; however, if you are eligible for both, PDL and CFRA leave can be stacked to allow for continuous leave during your pregnancy that transitions into bonding time with your child after the child's birth.
You Need an Attorney
If you are pregnant and your employer is making improper decisions about you because of it, you need to seek help. Not only do you have to take care of yourself and your pregnancy, but you have to protect your legal right to remain employed. We can help. We take great pride in holding employers accountable for unlawful acts against future mothers. You should be able to focus on your pregnancy without constant anxiety about your job security. We work on a contingency basis, which means that we take no money up front. Contact Moss Bollinger today by phone at 800-249-1175 for a consultation or reach us online.