Pregnant workers can face several types of workplace discrimination. In some cases, employers will fail to hire, demote, or even fire a worker on the basis of their pregnancy status. It’s also considered discrimination when a pregnant worker is denied a protected leave of absence.
If you believe you’ve faced workplace discrimination due to your pregnancy, a California pregnancy discrimination lawyer from Domb & Rauchwerger can determine if you have grounds for a legal claim. If you do, our attorneys can stand up against your employer and fight for the financial remedies you need to move forward with your life and career.
Types of Workplace Discrimination Pregnant Workers Might Experience
Familiarizing yourself with the different forms of pregnancy discrimination and the laws that prohibit them can help you determine if you’ve faced or are currently experiencing workplace discrimination related to your pregnancy.
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Employers sometimes discriminate against pregnant employees by taking various adverse actions against them, such as terminating or demoting the employee as a result of their pregnancy. An adverse action is a measure that your employer takes against you that negatively impacts the terms, conditions, and privileges of your employment.
The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits your employer from taking an adverse action against you because of your pregnancy. If your employer violated this law, you can seek legal representation and bring a claim against them for damages.
However, in order to be against the law, the adverse action must have been taken against you because you are pregnant, and not for some other legitimate reason. For example, if you haven’t fulfilled your workplace duties, your employer may lower your pay or issue a negative performance review. In this case, the adverse action taken against you is warranted because of your poor performance.
However, if your performance hasn’t worsened and you recently disclosed your pregnancy to your employer, receiving a poor review or having another adverse action taken against you may qualify as pregnancy discrimination. Adverse actions you may experience due to your pregnancy include, but aren’t limited to, the following:
- Termination of your employment
- Pay cut
- Relieve you of certain job duties
- Loss of benefits
- Failure to hire
- Failure to promote
As stated above, the adverse action taken against you must be directly motivated by your pregnancy to qualify as discrimination. Our lawyers can use evidence to show that your employer was aware of your pregnancy and that it was the motivating factor behind their decision to take one of the above-mentioned adverse actions against you.
Denied Leave of Absence for Pregnancy
Another example of pregnancy discrimination is when your request to take a leave of absence for your pregnancy is denied. The Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDLL) and California Family Rights Act (CFRA) protect your right to take time off from work for your pregnancy. If an employer violates your rights under one of these laws, you have the option to hire a lawyer and take legal action.
Pregnancy Disability Leave
The PDL gives you the right to take four months of unpaid leave for a disability related to pregnancy, the birth of a child, or similar medical condition related to pregnancy.
To qualify for PDL, your employer must have over five employees. Once you return from PDL, the law requires your employer to reinstate you in your old position unless it is no longer available for a reason unrelated to your leave of absence.
Your employer may deny you your old position if keeping it open during your leave of absence would have negatively affected the operation or safety of the company. If you are denied reinstatement in your former role, your employer may be legally required to place you in another position. An attorney can determine if this is the case and fight for your reinstatement.
If your employer has denied your request to take PDL, retaliated against you for requesting to take PDL, or failed to reinstate you after a leave of absence, an experienced attorney can help you pursue financial remedies for the workplace discrimination you’ve faced due to your pregnancy.
The California Family Rights Act (CFRA)
The CFRA provides employees who work for an employer with five or more employees the right to take up to 12 weeks off to bond with their child (either through birth, adoption or foster placement). The 12 weeks does not have to be taken all at once but does have to be used within one year of the child’s birth, adoption, or foster placement.
If you are eligible for CFRA leave and your employer denies your request or retaliates against you for requesting leave, you may have grounds for a discrimination claim.
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Failure to Provide Reasonable Accommodations
If you are suffering from a disability related to your pregnancy, you are entitled to reasonable accommodations to help you perform the essential job functions of your job.
Reasonable accommodations may include adjustments to your work environment or job duties that allow you to perform your job, such as not having to lift items that are over 20 pounds. What qualifies as a reasonable accommodation varies depending on the disability and the potential restrictions that you might have.
For example, if you are experiencing fatigue or morning sickness due to your pregnancy, your reasonable accommodation might be a change in your work schedule that accounts for the issues you’re experiencing.
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How an Attorney Can Help You Combat Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace
If you’ve been discriminated against in the workplace because of your pregnancy, you’ll want to hire an attorney to help you take action against the offending employer. A lawyer can meet with you for an initial consultation to review the facts of your case and determine if you’re eligible to take legal action.
If a lawyer finds that you have grounds for a claim, they’ll start by gathering and analyzing evidence related to the discrimination you’ve experienced. They can use your testimony, testimony from your co-workers, evidence of comments made by your supervisor or employer, and other forms of evidence to build a strong case on your behalf.
If we take your case, our lawyers will work tirelessly to obtain the following remedies on your behalf:
- Back or front pay
- Emotional distress damages
- Attorneys’ fees
- Punitive damages
Our Firm Is Here to Help You Take Legal Action Against Your Employer
Zack Domb and Devin Rauchwerger are closely familiar with how pregnant workers are discriminated against in the workplace. That’s because they are both former partners from one of the largest employment defense firms in the country. In their previous roles, they defended Fortune 500 employers from pregnancy discrimination claims like yours.
As a result, the team at Domb & Rauchwerger knows how your employer’s legal team will respond to your claim and can draw on their experience to combat dishonest tactics. They’ll use their unique skill sets to file a strong claim on your behalf and fight for the financial remedies you need to recuperate from the discrimination you’ve experienced.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a pregnancy discrimination lawyer and find out if you have grounds for a claim.