Pregnancy Discrimination in San Francisco
Pregnancy discrimination can include not receiving the proper amount of time off for pregnancy leave or losing a job due to pregnancy.
If you or a loved one has suffered from pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, it is important to reach out for experienced legal help. If you suspect discrimination due to pregnancy or childbirth, the employment attorneys at McCormack & Erlich are here to help you. We will take the time to understand your unique situation and guide you through the process.
We deliver the best possible resolutions for employees like you.
The California Pregnancy Disability Leave Law
As an employee, you typically have the right to leave work due to pregnancy and return to the same job with the same salary. Under the California Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDL), pregnant women are given up to four months of disability leave from work. Any leave taken before or after a specific pregnancy counts toward those four months.
When can leave be taken?
The leave can be taken before the pregnancy or after childbirth -- typically any time that the employee is unable to complete her job functions. Generally, leave must be requested at least thirty days prior to the start of absence. However, if the circumstances do not permit this amount of notice, the employee may give notice as soon as practical. The employer is permitted to require medical documentation of the pregnancy. Employers are not required to pay workers during PDL, but any employer-sponsored health benefits must continue.
The California Family Rights Act and the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act
For employees working for employers that have 50 or more workers, the new mother is entitled to an additional 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This creates a maximum of nearly seven months that a pregnant employee can take off, if the circumstances permit. Beginning January 1, 2018, California passed a law extending the additional 12 weeks of pregnancy leave to smaller employers, with as few as 20 employees. This additional time off can be used for bonding time with a newborn and may be taken up to one year after the birth.
Working while pregnant is becoming more common
Since the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1964, it has become more common for women to work while Pregnant. While only 44% of women worked while pregnant before the Act, 66% of women who gave birth to their first child between 2006 and 2008 worked during their pregnancy.
What happens to my health insurance when I’m pregnant?
If your employer provides health insurance, it must cover the cost of pregnancy similarly to other medical conditions. If benefits are given to an employee on medical leave, then equal benefits must be provided to the employee on pregnancy leave.
Am I guaranteed my job after my leave?
Under no circumstances may an employer terminate a new mother’s employment because she took pregnancy leave. The employer also may not lower the employee’s salary because she took pregnancy leave. If the job is not available once the employee returns, then the employer must provide a similar job with comparable pay, location, promotional opportunities and job duties unless the employer can prove that no such position exists.
What if I'm pregnant during my job search?
It is unlawful for an employer to refuse to hire an applicant due to pregnancy if she is able to perform the major job duties. Pregnancy Discrimination is also illegal in any aspect of employment such as pay, job function, layoffs, promotions, firing, fringe benefits, training, etc. Pregnancy should, under the law, be treated similarly to having a temporary disability during a job search.
When employees' legal rights are violated, we take time to explain their legal options, listen to their goals, and aggressively argue their case until we achieve the resolution they deserve.
Can I request reasonable accommodation if I’m pregnant?
Yes. If the employee is temporarily unable to fulfill some of her job functions due to the pregnancy, then the employer must treat her similarly to a temporarily disabled employee, and attempt to find a reasonable accommodation that will allow her to keep working.
Reasonable accommodation can be requested before or after the leave of absence is taken. It is required to be fulfilled as long as it remains “reasonable,” in cases such as: modifying work duties, transferring the employee to a less demanding position or providing a modified work schedule. See our disability discrimination page for more information.
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If you have been wrongfully terminated or suffered workplace discrimination due to pregnancy, or pregnancy-related disability, the law gives you the power to recover damages and put a stop to illegal employment practices for the benefit of others. Contact the experienced employment attorneys at McCormack and Erlich today to get started.
Wrongful termination due to pregnancy and medical leave
Our client was fired after she took medical leave due to a serious illness during her pregnancy, even though she followed all the rules and kept her employer informed for the duration of her recovery.
At trial, the jury made an award of $578,425 to compensate for her lost wages, medical expenses and emotional distress.
You pay nothing unless re recovery damages for you.
After working hard at a major grocery chain for almost 15 years, our client was seen as a great employee by her managers.
In 2014, she became pregnant and went on maternity leave. Directly after, she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder that required additional medical leave to deal with both the pregnancy and the serious disease.
Our client kept her company informed of her conditions, sent doctors notes and emphasized how eager she was about coming back once her health was better.
The company’s HR department sent a termination letter to the wrong address even though she had been in regular contact with her supervisor. She did not even learn she had been fired until nearly a month later.
Together, we filed a lawsuit for wrongful termination, pregnancy discrimination and disability discrimination. At trial, the jury made an award of $578,425 to compensate for her lost wages, medical expenses and emotional distress, and the company paid our attorney fees and costs.