Any mother or expectant mother will tell you that the pregnancy term is among the most challenging endeavors a person can face. With all of the doctor visits, medical tests, potential complications, and bodily changes, a pregnant employee faces plenty of concerns. Despite those challenges, pregnancy should be a special time in a woman’s life, and no one should have to choose between a healthy pregnancy and a paycheck.
Unfortunately, some employers claim that making accommodations for a pregnant worker imposes an undue hardship on their businesses. Some employers discriminate against pregnant workers for needing those necessary modifications at work. If you or a loved one have experienced pregnancy discrimination, you should contact an experienced attorney to discuss your rights.
What Rights Do Pregnant Workers Have?
In California, pregnant workers are protected by a variety of laws at both the state and federal levels. The laws protecting pregnant employees are listed below:
Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 prohibits employers from firing an employee because she is pregnant. Furthermore, the Act prevents workplace discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Such prohibited discrimination includes:
- Refusing to hire a job applicant based on her pregnancy or future ability to conceive children
- Terminating an employee because of her pregnancy
- Denying an employee a promotion or raise because of her pregnancy
- Failing to leave the pregnant employee’s position open for a certain amount of time.
- Refusing to allow an employee to take time off for pregnancy-related medical issues or childbirth
It is important to note that the Act only applies to employers with more than fifteen employees. If your employer meets this and certain other criteria and has discriminated against you due to your pregnancy, you should contact an attorney.
Fair Labor Standards Act
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) ensures that employers provide reasonable accommodations for their pregnant employees, such as providing them with breaks to pump breast milk. Also, an employer cannot retaliate against a pregnant employee or cut their pay due to these accommodations.
Fair Employment and Housing Act
The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prevents an employer from discriminating against or harassing any employee based on their sex. Such prohibited behavior includes discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding situations.
California Pregnancy Disability Leave
The California Pregnancy Disability Leave statute covers any medical condition that an employee suffers during her pregnancy, such as:
- Morning sickness
- Complications from pregnancy
- Postpartum depression
This protection begins from the first day of your employment.
What Remedies Are Available?
Most likely, you can file a discrimination complaint with either the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) before resorting to a lawsuit. These agencies can help you determine if you need to seek further legal action.
Filing any lawsuit is a gamble, but you may decide that a lawsuit is necessary to obtain justice. Those who suffer pregnancy discrimination are entitled to the following damages:
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
- Lost wages or back pay
- Legal fees and court costs
An experienced attorney will be able to discuss the facts of your case with you and help you determine what damages you may be entitled to receive.
Contact a Pregnancy Discrimination Attorney at Blackstone Law Today
At Blackstone Law, we believe wholeheartedly in standing up for what is right and fighting for those in vulnerable positions. Employers should never treat their pregnant employees unfairly. If you feel that you have been discriminated against due to your pregnancy, please do not hesitate to contact us. To speak with one of our attorneys, you may fill out our online form or call us at (310) 956-4054.