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Pregnancy Discrimination / Leave Of Absence

 

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Were you discriminated against because you are pregnant, have children, have a medical condition stemming from pregnancy, or are married to someone who has been discriminated against for these reasons? Pregnancy discrimination is characterized as a type of unlawful sex discrimination under federal law. 

The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which modified Title VII, requires employers to treat pregnant women the same as all other employees. It also enables a woman to take 4 months of pregnancy leave, even if she is a new employee, and even if she does not work full time. Pregnancy leave is mandatory when a woman is “disabled” due to her pregnancy, a medical condition associated with her pregnancy, or to childbirth. A medical professional makes the determination of whether a woman is “disabled” such that she requires leave. An employer may not force you to take leave all at once. Moreover, before taking leave, an employer must permit you to take time off for pregnancy-related illnesses. 

The California Pregnancy Disability Leave Law permits pregnant women to take 12 weeks of leave (assuming your employer employs 5 or more people). Therefore, a pregnant woman may be entitled to take a significant amount of time off for her pregnancy under these laws – up to 7 months. 

Pregnancy discrimination can manifest in several ways. Did the employer: 

Refuse to hire you because you were pregnant, even though you could perform all necessary job functions? 
Refuse to adjust your duties so that you could keep working, such as giving you different assignments or modifying your responsibilities? 
Fail to give you unpaid disability leave?
Force you to go on leave even though you could still perform your job?
Require that you to stay on leave until your baby was born or that you stay away from work for a certain amount of time? 
Exempt pregnancy-related health expenses from your health insurance plan, refuse to reimburse such expenses, or require a larger deductible as compared to other non-pregnant employees? 
Claim that you are not entitled to benefits because you are not pregnant, even though you are married to someone who is?
Withhold pregnancy-related benefits because you are not married?
Refuse to provide pregnancy-related benefits to you even though it provides benefits to your non-pregnant coworkers on leave? 
Bypass you for the awarding of a more senior position because you were on pregnancy leave?
Alter the way your vacation, pay, or benefits are calculated because you were on pregnancy leave?

 

If any of these situations apply, or if you were discriminated against due to your pregnancy status in another way, you may have a viable discrimination claim.