A blog post discussing the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in California and how it affects employers For expecting mothers in California, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) is a precious protection that helps ensure a safe and healthy workplace. It prevents employers from discriminating against pregnant women and provides them with paid rest breaks during their pregnancy. Employees who are expecting in California should be aware of all of their rights and benefits under this law. The PDA is an extension of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on gender.
It applies to all employers with fifteen or more employees in California and provides protection for expecting mothers throughout the state. This act requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnancy-related conditions and prohibits employers from discriminating against pregnant workers in terms of hiring, training, promotions, and other terms of employment. In addition, the law requires employers to provide paid rest breaks for pregnant workers.
However, the PDA does not guarantee pregnant workers certain employment benefits. It only covers pregnancy-related issues, such as the accommodations mentioned above. For example, employers are not required to provide their pregnant employees with additional vacation time or other benefits unrelated to pregnancy. But the PDA does provide an extra layer of protection to expecting mothers in California, assuring them certain rights and conditions that will help make their pregnancy period smoother and more manageable.
The PDA guarantees that pregnant workers have the right to paid rest breaks in California, an important benefit that allows them to stay energized and healthy while continuing to work. By understanding their rights under the PDA, expecting mothers in California can benefit from the protection it offers and ensure their workplace is a safe and comfortable environment.
We’re first going to take a look at California law and what it says about pregnancy discrimination and harassment. We’re then going to take a look at the common violations that employment lawyers like myself see and pursue on a daily basis. Finally, we’ll examine what you should do about it if you are a victim. We’ll also take a look at the financial implications and the economic remedies that you can recover if you successfully win your pregnancy discrimination lawsuit.
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act: An Overview
in describing the rules that surround pregnant employees California law is broken up into three main categories: the first is maternity leave, and that’s the FMLA CFRA rules that a lot of twelve weeks lead for most employees in the state of California, and the second general area is pregnancy disability leave, which is where a woman has become disabled due to her pregnancy, so say her doctor put her on bed rest, she had preeclampsia and had to take certain time off, or she has postpartum depression after the birth of the child and needs to take a leave of absence due to that they owe that law lets you take additional time beyond the traditional twelve weeks that are allotted by FMLA or CFRA.
those two areas of law are huge in general and broad and they apply to a lot more people than you might think I’ve made an entire video just about those two laws.
this video primarily dealing with discrimination that’s where a woman is treated poorly or terminated due to her pregnancy specifically the California Fair Employment and Housing Act section one two nine four zero subsection Act says that there’s an unlawful Employment Practice for any employer to take an adverse employment action against a woman due to her sex sex is later defined to pregnancy and related medical conditions so an employer can’t fire you because of your pregnancy they can’t refuse to hire you because of your pregnancy and later on it is enumerated that you can’t harass a woman because of her sex or right so you can’t create an abusive working environment can’t insult or harass a woman because of her pregnancy this is the general description of the law so now let’s look at some common violations
A Case of Refusal to Hire an Employee for Pregnancy
employment lawyers’ like myself see a lot of different types of cases but the ones we see most frequently are right here first is a refusal to hire a pregnant employee when a woman is showing it’s almost impossible for her to get hired at a good job and and when they don’t get hired it’s very difficult to prove that it was due to their pregnancy so if you’re going to bring a case like this to a lawyer or the df’ eh you need to have some good evidence indicate that it was motivated the refusal to hire was motivated by your pregnancy we often see cases where a woman is written up reprimand and then fired before she goes on maternity leave before her leave of absence those are very common also extremely common is the glass ceiling case where a woman comes back from maternity leave or throughout her pregnancy issues due for promotion and no more promotions no more advancement in the company and usually we find that’s motivated because the employer manager CEO or whoever doesn’t believe that the female is going to be able to keep up because of our obligations to her young child we often see and these are often the the worst types of cases when a woman is fired either immediately after her maternity leave or leave of absence or soon after her maternity those cases generally get the jury really angry we often see cases where especially among less sophisticated employers and really smaller companies where a woman is denied her right to take maternity leave or pregnancy disability leave now not all employers that law the FMLA PDL doesn’t apply to all employers so don’t just automatically assume that the law has been broken if your FMLA Your maternity leave is tonight, so definitely call a lawyer about that.
We often see cases where a woman suddenly is being set up to fail because they’re being harassed, called names, or treated very poorly, and there’s no possible way they can meet the expectations of the employer, but those expectations weren’t created until after the employee told the employer that she was pregnant, so she’s being harassed in order to get her to quit before she goes on her maternity leave.
This is a very common scenario. Now, we often tell people to quit if their employers are treating them poorly and they don’t have any other options. Stay there because it’s much better to file a lawsuit if you’ve been fired, and if you voluntarily quit, we often see cases where a woman comes back from attorney Lee who was suddenly fired due to absenteeism. It sounds ridiculous, but they often come up with reasons to fire a woman that revolve around her time off due to going to pediatrician appointments, going to her own obgyn, or doctor appointments after the birth of a child. We also see cases where a woman is fired because the employer is amused.
Typically, a male manager fires the woman because he is worried about her future time off to care for her baby or for herself. These are very common cases that employment lawyers like myself pursue on a regular basis.
Do You Think You’re a Victim of Pregnancy Discrimination?
Do you believe you’re a victim of pregnancy discrimination? What should you do? Well, there are three things. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the vast majority of women do nothing; they don’t file a case, they don’t call a lawyer, and I understand why they’ve got a young baby at home and they don’t want to get involved in a messy lawsuit. Unfortunately, it’s not a good option, and the reason is this: if a man is your HR representative or CEO who decided to fire you or not hire you, we’ll do it again and again and again until somebody holds them accountable, so might as well be you.
secondarily some women decide to contact the DF eh the Department of Fair Employment and housing or the federal equivalent EEOC unfortunately those agencies have so many cases and so few lawyers and are so under budget that they can’t possibly pursue all the kid claims that come their way and they often usually just send the employee right to sue letter and then they have to go contact the lawyer anyway so generally we recommend that if you feel like you have a case contact a private employment leader the consultations are almost always free so it usually doesn’t cost you anything and you’re going to learn about what’s your case which you might be able to recover typically you can recover three things Number one is your economic damages.
If you were making $75,000 a year and then you were fired, you’re not making $75,000 a year anymore. That’s a very tangible economic loss that a jury can measure. Second, and I’m usually more important, are emotional distress damages. These are the damages for the pain and suffering that an employee goes through when they are fired due to their pregnancy. They are very real and cannot be minimized, and they’re often the largest component of the case. Third, punitive damages.
These are the damages to punish the employer, so for really egregious malicious behavior, they’re very difficult to win, but when you do, oftentimes the largest component of the entire case is well, how much can you get if you’ve got a good case? How much can you get? We employment lawyers hate knowing how much, and the reason is that we don’t know. Every case is so dramatically different from one to the next that it’s impossible to predict without hearing a whole lot about your facts. They even give an estimate, and most settlements are99% of cases settle, and those settlements are all confidential, so we don’t even have statistics on what the typical case settles for, but I can tell you this: if you are able to find a good employment lawyer who is willing to invest his or her time, money, and most importantly, energy into the case, you’re more likely to be satisfied with the financial outcome. I really hope this article has been helpful. Take care.