Employers Cannot Discriminate Against Pregnant Employees | Aiman-Smith & Marcy
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Employers Cannot Discriminate Against Pregnant Employees

Congratulations on your pregnancy. Your employer cannot fire you if you are pregnant under the California Family Rights Act and federal laws. This is very important if you are planning to return to work after you have your baby. A business in California must give a new mother up to 16 weeks of unpaid leave and she cannot be replaced permanently.

Some companies give the expectant mother accrued sick pay, personal leave, and vacation pay during this time. She may also qualify for disability or other payments under some supplemental insurance plans. Her insurance continues while she is on leave and the new baby may be added to the policy that includes dependent coverage.

Federal Law plus California Law

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act was amended to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect expectant mothers in the workplace if they have been employed for 12 months. Terminating or refusing to hire a pregnant woman is sex discrimination. The law applies to employers with 15 or more employees.

If a woman is unable to perform her job as the result of her pregnancy, she is to be treated in the same way as a person who is temporarily disabled under the California Pregnancy Disability Leave law and federal rules. A pregnant woman must be allowed to modify her tasks or be transferred to another job at the same pay rate if her health and her condition are in danger from her work.

Under California law, the woman does not have to work for 12 months to qualify for the CFRA and the company only needs five employees. Her first 12 weeks of leave are concurrent with the federal law and the last four weeks are covered by the California law.

A parent may take time off to care for a sick child or another immediate family member under California’s laws. This applies to registered domestic partners and spouses who may be needed to care for a newborn baby or another immediate family member. This law protects the new father or domestic partner who may take time off from work. The law does not discriminate against the gender of the domestic partner.

Paid Family Leave

California offers temporary disability insurance under the Paid Family Leave act to parents who must take time off for a new baby, including an adopted child. Men adopt children and they are entitled to the same considerations for bonding with the new child. This partial payment also applies to care for a seriously ill child, spouse or parent.

State Disability Insurance pays for up to six weeks of leave time. Certain requirements and medical authorizations apply.

Health Insurance

Companies that supply health insurance or participation in shared insurance costs must cover pregnancy and childbirth in the same way as other medical conditions. This includes spouses covered by an employee’s insurance plan. This is required by federal and California laws.

Medical benefits for pregnant women must cover expectant mothers who are not married. An employer and the insurance companies cannot discriminate against unmarried pregnant women and those who adopt a child.

Telling Your Employer

It is the decision of the expectant mother to tell her employer about her condition. She can do so at any time. Many women wait until their second trimester to explain their pregnancy, especially if they have had previous complications.

A woman may need a temporary sick leave during her pregnancy and return to work while she awaits her due date. She may decide to start her leave the last month of her pregnancy.

A woman who experiences morning sickness may tell her employer why she is late for work. This is often a temporary condition in the early stages of pregnancy and it should be treated like any other medical condition.

Contact Aiman-Smith & Marcy if you feel your employer has discriminated against you during your pregnancy or your allowed leave. Many employers do not understand the state and federal laws regarding pregnancy and family leave. Let us know if your manager or employer tries to intimidate you into quitting your job while you are pregnant. We are here to help you protect your benefits.