The miracle of life: giving birth. No one wants to deal with the added stress of losing a job after such a significant life milestone. It is important to know your rights as an employee and a mother. Your job is crucial because it may control your well-being and your ability to provide for your new family. Any such loss must be taken seriously and the California Labor Law Employment Attorney’s Group understands this notion greatly. So do not hesitate to look deeper into your options of retaliation if you were fired after giving birth.
There are several scenarios that may apply to you. If you were fired solely on the basis that you were pregnant and gave birth then we could be looking at an issue of wrongful discrimination. Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts established in 1964, does not allow for discrimination of employment based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. To be defined as an employer under the act, the company must employ 15 or more people that work at least 20 weeks within the year. Forms of discrimination that are defined under the act are if employers refuse to hire or discharge an individual; withhold certain compensations, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment; place employees in a position that limits employment opportunities or has a negative effect on the status of an employee. In 1978 the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) was amended to the Civil Rights Act by specifying pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions as falling under the category of sex discrimination outlined by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. In order for an unlawful employment practice to be established, you must be able to demonstrate that a specific discrimination based on your pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition occurred and was not job related.
Maternity Leave Law in California: A Guide to Mom’s Rights
The California Fair Employment and House Act (FEHA) is a California statute for employment discrimination. It is very similar to Title VII in that it prohibits discrimination based on race or color; religion; national origin or ancestry, physical disability, mental disability or medical condition; marital status; sex or sexual orientation; age; and pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. This California act is stricter than Federal law because it applies to companies with only 5 or more employees, so there’s a possibility your rights could have been violated under both acts. Compensation you may be able to receive include: hiring/restatement, promotion, back pay, front pay, out-of pocket expenses, training, reasonable accommodations, damages for emotional distress, policy changes, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees and costs. In order to start the process of filing a complaint, you must fill out an intake form from the California Departments of Fair Employment and House. Submitting this form will instigate an interview to determine if you will be accepted for an investigation.
Another scenario is if you were fired because of the time you took off after giving birth. Then, we could be looking at a violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). FMLA was established in 1993 and provides unpaid job protection for employees for 12 weeks due to family or medical conditions. Giving birth is considered a family or medical condition and is valid through one year after giving birth. However, certain restrictions do apply. Companies are only covered under FMLA if it employs 50 or more employees who worked 20 or more weeks for the current of past year. There are also restrictions that apply to the employee in order to be covered under the act. You must live within a 75 mile radius of the work site, have worked for at least twelve months, consecutive or not, and within those 12 months, you must have worked at least 1,250 hours. Moreover, there are four states that currently have paid maternity leave laws, California is one of them. California’s State form of FMLA, is called the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). While there are many overlaps in the FMLA and CFRA, one difference is that the CFRA does not require a 75 mile radius from the job site. FMLA covers leave for pregnancy disabilities, while CFRA does not. Instead, actions would be filed under the California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave. While both the State and Federal Acts apply to children, parents, and spouses, the CFRA extends its jurisdiction to domestic partners and parents in law.
Under a new law that took effect in 2018, the Parental Leave Act (PLA), women are protected from being fired for going on maternity leave and are able to use any accrued paid time off or paid sick leave. The criteria to be protected under the PLA reflect those of the FMLA. You must have worked at the company for at least a year, you must have worked at least 1,250 hours within that year, and you must live within a 75 mile radius of the work site. Broadening its scope, a company qualifies under the PLA if it has between 20 and 49 employees, while the FMLA only covers companies with 50 or more employees. The PLA extends coverage from the FMLA to require group health coverage for the employee during that 12 month leave. Employers are only able to recover the health insurance premiums if the employee does not return after those 12 weeks. Not only does the act apply to the State of California, but all cities and subdivisions of the state or city governments are also included.
If you feel as though your rights under these acts have been violated, then you may be eligible for compensatory damages, punitive damages, or possible reinstatement of your job. Start by submitting an intake form to the DFEH to determine if your complaint will be accepted for an investigation. It must be noted that there is a statute of limitations that applies to any sort of maternity leave violations. You have one year from the date of the allegations to file a complaint.
The California Labor Law Employment Attorney’s Group promises to help you receive maximum benefits from your loss. With a zero fee guarantee, you will receive a free consultation and have no obligation to pay anything unless we win your case. So call or visit us today and get started on your journey of redemption, all with the assistance of some of the most qualified attorneys in Los Angeles.