Treating a pregnant woman, whether she is an employee or a job applicant, unfavorably because of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions is against the law. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) states that such discrimination constitutes unlawful sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The employer must treat the pregnant woman the same way they treat other employees who are temporarily disabled. Additionally, physical impairments that result from being pregnant may qualify as disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the employer may have to provide reasonable accommodations for such disabilities.
Under PDA, if temporarily disabled employees are allowed to take disability leave then they must offer the same opportunity to an employee who is temporarily disabled due to pregnancy.
California Labor Code states that every employer “shall provide a reasonable amount of break time to accommodate an employee desiring to express breast milk for the employee’s infant child.” Under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), an employee cannot discriminate against a female employee on the bases of breastfeeding or medical conditions related to breastfeeding.
Examples of Pregnancy Discrimination
- firing you because you are pregnant
- paying you less because you recently gave birth to a child
- not promoting you because you are pregnant
- not providing you with fringe benefits given to other non-pregnant employees
- being harassed because of pregnancy, childbirth or a medical condition by your supervisor, a co-worker or a client and the harassment is so severe it creates a hostile work environment
- not being provided the same accommodations as other non-pregnant employees who are temporarily disabled
- discriminating against you based on your breastfeeding needs
Pregnancy, Maternity & Parental Leave
Several State and Federal Laws come into place regarding pregnancy, maternity and parental leave:
- Under the PDA, the pregnant employee has the same rights to take disability leave, or leave without pay, as another employee who is temporarily disabled.
- Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and California Family Rights Act (CFRA) a new parent may be eligible to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid and job protected leave to care for their new child. To be eligible, the employee must have worked for 12 months for the employer and the employer must have a specified number of employees or be a public agency.
- Under California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave law, an eligible employee may receive up to 4 months of unpaid, job protected leave. The employee’s health care provider determines the length of leave as it depends on the length of time the employee is disabled by such pregnancy.
- California New Parent Leave Act requires employers with more than 20 employees and all public agencies to provide for 12 weeks of unpaid, job protected, leave to bond with a new child. To be eligible, the employee must have worked for the employer for more than 12 months.
Document The Behavior
To help prove your case, it is important you document the discrimination (i.e save emails, memos, text messages, etc) and that you follow the reporting system within your company to report the illegal conduct. Of course there will be times when this is not possible, but remember the more evidence you have, the more it will help your case!
Seeking Justice – Your Next Steps
If you know or think you have been treated differently because you are pregnant or if you employer has violated any of the laws which protect you, contact Employee Justice Legal Group now for a free consultation!
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