McCormack & Erlich has extensive experience helping employees who have experienced pregnancy discrimination assert their rights and recover their damages. Under California law, you typically have the right to leave from work due to pregnancy, and to return to your same job at the same pay after the pregnancy leave. If you suspect that you or a member of your family has been discriminated against by an employer on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition, fill out our contact form or call 415.296.8420 for a free review.
Leave Rights under California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) Law, California Family Rights Act (CFRA), and Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) law allows pregnant women up to four months of disability leave from work due to pregnancy. All leave taken in connection with a specific pregnancy counts toward the four month period.
- Pregnancy Leave is available both before and/or after birth, during any time the woman is unable to work. This includes time off needed for prenatal care, severe morning sickness, doctor-ordered bed rest, childbirth, recovery from childbirth, or any other medical condition related to pregnancy.
- An employee generally must request pregnancy disability leave at least 30 days’ prior to the need for leave. However, if circumstances do not permit advance notice, the employee only need give notice as soon as practicable. In response, an employer is permitted to request medical documentation supporting the employee’s need for leave.
- In addition to leave under the PDL, California employees who work for larger employers (those who employ 50 or more employees) are entitled to an additional 12 weeks of leave under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) . In total, a pregnant employee may be able to maximize her leave to allow for nearly 7 months of job protected leave.
Guaranteed Right of Return to the Same Job at the Same Salary.
After a pregnancy disability leave, employees are guaranteed a return to the same position and can request the guarantee in writing. If the same position is no longer available, such as in a layoff due to plant closure, the employer must offer a position that is comparable in terms of pay, location, job content, and promotional opportunities, unless the employer can prove that no comparable position exists.
Right to Reasonable Accommodation for Pregnant Employees
Further, even before or after taking time off from work, employers are also obligated to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees such as modifying work duties, transferring the employee to a less strenuous position, or providing a modified work schedule. An employer’s failure to accommodate the pregnant employee is only excusable where the employer can prove that the accommodation would be an undue burden.