Pregnancy Discrimination Laws

Stephen W. HogieEmployment Law Blog

Pregnancy Discrimination Laws

Pregnancy Discrimination Laws

             If you’re a pregnant worker in California, you may not realize the Pregnancy Discrimination Laws that protect you. You have a right to Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL). We can help you understand your rights. There are additional laws in place that can protect your rights including the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL)

             Pregnancy Discrimination Laws provide Pregnancy Disability Leave. PDL applies if your company has five or more employees. Under the PDL, you must keep working until a doctor takes you off work. If your doctor gives you medical restrictions, your company needs to consider modified duty and reasonable accommodation. If needed, you must be transferred to a lighter position, unlike ordinary disabilities. PDL also applies when you cannot work any longer due to pregnancy, morning sickness, or prenatal care.

             The PDL allows up to four months of unpaid leave when you become disabled because of pregnancy. This includes morning sickness, high-risk issues, gestational diabetes, prenatal care, or recovery after the baby is born. You can split the four months into reasonable segments or use them all at once.

             Customary recovery time includes six weeks after pregnancy for normal delivery and eight weeks for c-sections. This can be more or less depending on what your doctor decides. The recovery time counts against your four month entitlement.

             If you and your doctor believe you cannot continue to safely do your job, you should ask for leave. Sometimes a pregnant worker is forced to take time off even though she can still work. That constitutes discrimination. Discrimination can also occur when an employer won’t let a pregnant worker return to work after leave. There are also cases of discrimination that involve letting a worker go because of becoming pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

California Family Rights Act (CFRA)

             Pregnancy Discrimination Laws such as the CFRA can provide you with job-protected, unpaid leave for up to 12 weeks to bond with a foster child, a child of a spouse or domestic partner, or a newborn. The 12 weeks can be used intermittently (pieces at a time) or all at once.

             To qualify for CFRA, you must have worked with your company for 12 months or more, which includes working on a temporary or part-time basis. Your company must employ at least 50 employees who are located within 75 miles of your location. The minimum amount of hours you must have worked during the previous 12 months before your leave is 1,250.

             The FMLA is the Federal Version of CFRA and may also apply to you. The CFRA is offers the same protections as FMLA and additional protection such as the coverage of same-sex domestic partners and more privacy protection. The CFRA does not offer leave for conditions related to pregnancy. CFRA leave cannot be used in addition to the FMLA leave. While you can’t use 12 weeks of CFRA leave and an additional 12 weeks of FMLA Leave, sometimes you can use PDL (4 months) in addition to your leave taken in connection with CFRA or FMLA.

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             Economic and emotional damages usually occur when these laws are violated. If you believe you may be the victim of pregnancy discrimination it is important that you protect your case. Pregnancy Discrimination, harassment or retaliation should not force you to quit. Get help instead. We know how to fight against pregnancy discrimination. We won’t pressure you and we won’t tell your employer. Call Hogie & Campbell for a Free Consultation at (714) 508-6422.

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