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Pregnancy Discrimination

Pregnancy Discrimination Attorneys - San Francisco

Employers are prohibited from discriminating against expectant mothers under federal and California law.  Both Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) provide that a pregnant employee must be treated the same for all employment-related purposes as any other employee who is similar in his or her ability or inability to work. Employers must accommodate a pregnant employee as they would an employee who is temporarily disabled, such as adjusting work duties and schedules. If you believe that you have been discriminated against in the workplace because you are pregnant, you should contact an experienced pregnancy discrimination attorney as soon as possible.

Prohibited Activity

The FEHA prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.  It is illegal for an employer to do any of the following activities based on the fact that an employee is pregnant:

  • refuse to promote a pregnant employee
  • discharge a pregnant employee
  • discriminate against a pregnant employee in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment
  • refuse to allow a pregnant employee the same benefits allowed other employees
  • refuse to allow a pregnant employee up to four months of leave
  • refuse to transfer a pregnant employee to a less strenuous or hazardous position if she requests a transfer and it can be reasonably done
  • refuse to provide a pregnant employee’s request for reasonable accommodations for conditions related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions

A pregnant employee that is subjected to unlawful harassment or discrimination on the basis of pregnancy may be entitled to recover damages for emotional distress, lost wages, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees.

Special Rights of a Pregnant Employee

Reasonable Accommodations:  An employer must comply with the reasonable requests of a pregnant employee for special accommodations, such as a weight limit for lifting objects or re-assignment away from hazardous materials that could damage a fetus. Employers must also provide breastfeeding accommodations that allow mothers to take breaks to express milk for their infant children in a private area.

Pregnancy Leave:   Women must be allowed up to four months of leave for medical complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. This leave does not have to be taken all at one time and may include periods both before and after birth. An employer may require an employee to use accumulated sick leave but not accrued vacation time during the disability period for pregnancy and childbirth. In California, an employee may be entitled to an additional 12 weeks of leave after childbirth under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). Both mothers and fathers can take leave of employment under this law to bond with newborn children.

Payment of Wages:
The FEHA provides for disability pay for pregnant women who take leave for medical complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. The State Disability Insurance Law may also provide partial compensation to employees disabled due to pregnancy or childbirth, and to parents who take time off from work to bond with a new child.

Return to Work:  After a woman takes disability leave relating to pregnancy, she is entitled to return the same job within a certain amount of time. Even if the job no longer exists, the employer must place the employee in a job of similar pay, location, job duties, and other conditions of work.

California Discrimination Lawyers

If you have been discriminated against at work because you are pregnant, or have not received the benefits you are entitled to by law, such as reasonable accommodations or adequate maternity leave, you should contact The Law Offices of Mayor Joseph L. Alioto and Angela Alioto P.L.C. at once to discuss your case.