Stopping Pregnancy and Maternal Leave Discrimination - Aiman-Smith & Marcy
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Stopping Pregnancy and Maternal Leave Discrimination

At a time when most parents’ are dutifully investing into their baby’s future, whether it be with painstakingly prepping new rooms for painting or eagerly awaiting prenatal appointment sonograms, no employee should face discrimination due to pregnancy. In order to develop a healthy pregnancy, the last thing a new mother needs is an employer that refuses to accommodate their needs, or implicitly or explicitly fires them.

Discrimination is a subtle force in society and, here at Aiman-Smith & Marcy; we are only to ready to shine the light on employers not compliant with California laws. It is illegal to fire or discriminate against a California employee due to pregnancy. 

Why Pregnancy and Maternity Leave Laws Exist 

In California, we refuse to ignore the rights of women and their burgeoning families. Unfortunately, unscrupulous employers try to take advantage of a pregnant woman by suddenly shuttering doors for further promotion, or any other nasty tricks to force her to quit. Since women have joined the workplace, activists have worked tirelessly ensure women do not experience this type of gender discrimination on the job. In effect, treating a pregnant employee or someone asking for maternity leave, makes the workplace particularly unfair to women in competitive markets. Luckily, many companies are even offering males paid leave to assist their partner with a new baby and witness the milestone of a child’s birth. 

While California has progressive legislation to protect pregnant women, if you find yourself here, you’ve likely experienced discrimination in the workplace. Other employers will act like making prenatal appointments is a hassle and suggest that the time off is a threat to their job security. It’s best to keep a log of these types of emails or comments. The goal of them to discredit the expecting mother’s job performance. Sadly, the bottom-line is often the only element of concern to them. Rather than investing in employees, many profit-hungry companies are more concerned with temporarily losing an employee. 

Rights to Accommodation

Pregnant women are allowed rights to accommodation, which means that employers can relegate one to less physically demanding positions, or an employee can request a transfer. Basically, the accommodations are common sense and designed to protect the mother and make for a safe pregnancy. A pregnant employee can also request stools or chairs to feel more comfortable while working. Additionally, pregnant women are supposed to be granted more frequent breaks.  There are some stipulations to getting extra accommodations, such as giving your employer 30 days notice and medical documentation of the pregnancy.

It is also considered required for employees to be provided a nursing room per breastfeeding. This allows a woman who is breastfeeding to privately fill bottles of milk, since milk is produced for a nursing infant whether or not they are with their child. To disallow room or accommodation for this, would mean interfering and interrupting with the natural, biological process of breastfeeding. 

Rights to Maternity Leave  

Clearly, giving birth to another human is a delicate process and requires extra care not often found in the cold, corporate world. Nonetheless, lawyers with human interests in mind hand long advocated for these types of legal protections. According to California’s legal system, pregnant women are entitled to many benefits and protections during their period of employment. According to DFEH, the government itself must comply with its practices, employers must provide “17 1/3 weeks” of paid leave compensation. It is called Paid Disability Leave, or PDL, in the state. If you have worked for a specific employer for more than one year, one might be eligible for federal and state relief. The federal program, FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) combined with The California Family Rights Act (CFRA), provides unpaid yet job-protected leave. 

If your rights have been violated or you have experienced this discrimination, please contact us immediately for assistance.