If you or a loved one are pregnant, recovering from childbirth, or have a maternity related medical condition, you are protected by California and federal anti-discrimination laws. Such laws strictly prohibit discrimination and/or harassment on an employee’s pregnancy, as well as prohibiting employers from denying or interfering with an employee’s pregnancy-related employment rights. Such discrimination occurs when a pregnant or soon-to-be pregnant woman encounters less favorable treatment when applying for a job or during employment. To establish a claim of pregnancy discrimination, an employee and/or their legal representative must prove the following:
- The employer is covered by the pregnancy discrimination laws (in California, this usually means that at least five employees work for said employer)
- The employee is either currently employed or a prospective employee of that employer.
- The employer terminated, refused to hire, or took some other type of adverse action against the employee, or the employee had to leave to avoid unbearable circumstances.
- The pregnancy was a substantial motivating reason for the adverse action; and
- The employee suffered some type of harm from the employer’s action.
Furthermore, in a successful pregnancy discrimination claim, an experienced legal representative would prove that the employer was aware of the pregnancy and provide evidence of the discriminatory motive.
Workers covered by pregnancy discrimination laws in California include:
- Traditional full-time employees
- Part time employees
- Temporary employees (“temps”)
- Job applicants
- Unpaid interns
Unfortunately, pregnant women may face a myriad of discriminatory practices due to their maternal condition. Examples of such unjust practices include (but are not limited to):
- Being forced to lift heavy objects after being asked to stop by your doctor.
- Being laid off weeks before the pregnancy is due for no legitimate reason.
- Being harassed or belittled due to pregnancy.
- Being forced to pump in obscene conditions.
- Being fired while on maternity leave.
- Being passed or denied the opportunity for a promotion because your employer does not believe you will have enough time.
- Coming back from maternity leave to a demotion or fewer hours.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act
The main federal law protecting pregnant women is an amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, called the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). This law sets regulations regarding an employer’s responsibilities when one of their workers is pregnant, as well as the rights of pregnant workers, and is applicable to companies that have 15 or more employees.
When a pregnant employee’s rights are violated, employers can be held accountable and may be found liable and required to pay damages or other types of restitution.
The following amendment added to Section 701 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 reads:
(k) The terms 'because of sex' or 'on the basis of sex' include, but are not limited to, because of or on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions; and women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions shall be treated the same for all employment-related purposes, including receipt of benefits under fringe benefit programs, as other persons not so affected but similar in their ability or inability to work, and nothing in section 703(h) of this title shall be interpreted to permit otherwise. This subsection shall not require an employer to pay for health insurance benefits for abortion, except where the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term, or except where medical complications have arisen from an abortion: Provided, That nothing herein shall preclude an employer from providing abortion benefits or otherwise affect bargaining agreements in regard to abortion.
Other state and federal laws that prohibit any type of workplace discrimination and protect your rights include:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- The Equal Pay Act of 1963
- The Age Discrimination Act of 1967
- The Rehabilitation Act of 1973;
- and The Civil Rights Act of 1991.
- The Fair Employment and Housing Act
WE HOLD EMPLOYERS ACCOUNTABLE. WE WANT TO HELP
Bibiyan Law Group is devoted to recovering compensation for any loss that your workplace discrimination case. A legal expert from our Los Angeles Law Firm can get your case started with a free initial consultation today. Our experienced, passionate discrimination attorneys will work tirelessly to secure justice for future mothers and hard workers. Our contingency fee basis ensures that you will never pay out-of-pocket; that is, you do not have to pay any fees unless you win or recover compensation. Don’t wait- there are statutes of limitations, or time restrictions, on these types of legal matters.