Pregnancy is a life-changing event that often is accompanied by anxiety about the future and well-being of the mother and baby. The last thing that should be on the mind of an expecting mother is whether she will still have a job when she returns from maternity leave.
Fortunately, California has laws in place that protect you from discrimination, harassment, or retaliation based on your pregnancy. We discuss how these laws affect your personal situation in terms of maternity leave and how discrimination can manifest in the workplace against pregnant employees.
How Much Maternity Leave Am I Entitled to in California?
In California, certain qualified employees are legally entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). This leave can be taken at once or intermittently, such as taking time off in smaller chunks throughout the course of the pregnancy and recovery.
It is important to note that an employee’s job is protected while they are on maternity leave, which means that their company cannot fire them or force them to resign because they took this leave. However, an employee can be fired for other reasons that are unrelated to their pregnancy or maternity leave.
How Does Pregnancy Discrimination Occur During Maternity Leave?
Pregnancy discrimination can occur in many ways, but sometimes it is subtle and hard to recognize. For example, an employer who is unhappy about an employee taking maternity leave might make insulting comments or threaten to terminate the pregnant employee if she takes a leave. An employer also might give an employee a hard time for requesting maternity leave or make the process even more difficult than necessary.
In some cases, an employer might outright refuse to give an employee maternity leave or tell them that they are not eligible for it. The employer also might cut the employee’s hours, demote them, or even terminate them. These are illegal and constitute pregnancy discrimination. If any of these scenarios occur, working with an experienced pregnancy discrimination attorney can help ensure that these benefits are being fairly acquired.
The Los Angeles-based law firm of Yadegar, Minoofar & Soleymani LLP is dedicated to securing justice for those who are facing discrimination in the workplace. Schedule a free evaluation with a member of our team today to discuss your legal options. Call (310) 499-0140 or fill out this short form.