Coyle Browne Law

San Diego Pregnancy Discrimination Attorney

San Diego Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer

Pregnancy is supposed to be a remarkable time as you plan on having a new family member enter your world. Many expectant parents still work during this time, which can raise questions about their legal rights. Browne Employment Lawyers, PLC explains pregnancy discrimination and how a California employment law attorney can help if you believe you have been discriminated against.

Pregnancy Discrimination Laws

Pregnant workers and expectant parents have a number of protections under state and federal laws. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or pregnancy-related medical conditions.

The Family Medical Leave Act may apply to provide unpaid time off work for eligible employees who have a serious medical condition or want time to bond with their new or adopted baby. Our FMLA lawyers can help if you believe that you were retaliated against or wrongly denied FMLA leave.

California’s Fair Housing and Employment Act (FEHA) prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, loss of pregnancy, and pregnancy-related physical and mental conditions. FEHA applies to employers with five or more employees, but anti-harassment is prohibited in all workplaces, including those with only one employee.

The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.

Pregnancy and Employment Rights

Under the above-mentioned laws, pregnant and nursing employees have the following rights:

  • To reasonable accommodations that allow the worker to perform their job, such as modifying work duties so the job is less strenuous, temporary transfer to a job during the pregnancy, or more breaks
  • To reasonable accommodations for lactation, including to take breaks, to express milk in private or more breaks
  • To time off work for a pregnancy-related or lactation-related disability
  • To not be fired, refused to be hired, harassed, or terminated because of pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions

A pregnant person’s right to any specific accommodation depends on their disability and the workplace. Transgender employees have the same rights regarding pregnancy disability and accommodations as cis employees.

Pregnancy Disability Leave

Some expectant mothers may develop pregnancy-related conditions that prevent them from performing essential functions of their job or that would cause undue risk to the mother or pregnancy. Some common examples of pregnancy-related disabilities include:

  • Gestational diabetes
  • Bed rest
  • Preeclampsia
  • Postpartum depression
  • Mastitis
  • Loss or end of pregnancy

When an expectant mother has these conditions, they may be entitled to take pregnancy disability leave. Their doctor recommends the time of leave they need to take from work. State law allows up to four months of pregnancy disability leave per pregnancy. Pregnancy disability leave is in addition to other leave that the mother may be entitled to. The worker does not have to take all of their leave time at once, and their employer cannot force them to take leave.

Employee Responsibilities Regarding Pregnancy Disability Leave

Pregnant employees bear some of the responsibility related to pregnancy disability leave. For example, they need to inform their employer that they will need pregnancy-related disability leave, 30 days’ notice, if possible. If their employer requests a medical certification, the employee must provide this information in a timely manner. Additionally, employees should be in contact with their employers regarding their anticipated return date and position. Generally, employers must reinstate the employee to the same position they were in before they took leave.

Contact an Experienced San Diego Employment Lawyer

If you have been discriminated against during your pregnancy, an experienced San Diego employment law attorney can review your situation and explain your legal rights and options. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to get started on your claim.

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