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Women are often the victims of sexual harassment on the job. However, the harassment and discrimination may only get worse when a woman decides to start a family. If a woman can’t work during her pregnancy, her employer might try to fire her or deny her leave. Worse, employers might try to demote employees or take away their seniority when they decide to come back to work. If you are thinking about getting pregnant, it’s important to understand your rights so you can protect yourself.
Most Women in California are Protected
Under California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDLL), any woman who works for a business that employs five or more workers is protected. This means you have the right to take pregnancy disability leave if you can’t work, the right to ask for a transfer if you can’t do your normal job, and the right to return to your old job when you come back from leave.
You Have the Right to Take Four Months of Leave
Every woman in California has a right to take up to four months of leave when she can’t work because of her pregnancy. This covers a wide range of issues, and you may even be entitled to leave when you have severe morning sickness if your doctor says you cannot work. You can take this leave all at once, or a few days at a time. If you are still sick after you deliver your child, you may also have a right to take another 12 weeks of leave under the California Family Rights Act. If your employer has a policy of giving disabled employees more than 4 months of leave, you might also have a right to take more than 4 months of leave.
You May Have the Right to Be Moved to A Different Position
If you can still work during your pregnancy, but you can’t do your normal job, you may have a right to request a transfer. If your employer has an open position that you’re qualified for, that provides you similar pay and benefits, you can request that you be transferred to that position. You might need to give your employer a note from your doctor that explains what type of work you can and cannot do.
Your Employer Must Return You to Your Old Job
After your pregnancy leave is over, your employer must return you to your original position. If your old position is no longer available after you come back from leave, your employer must try to find you a job with similar pay and benefits. On top of that, your employer can’t count your pregnancy disability leave as a “break” in your work when they calculate seniority.
Did You Take Protected Leave and Get Punished?
If your employer fired you for taking protected leave, you need an attorney on your side to protect your rights. We encourage you to speak to a discrimination attorney immediately! At California Civil Rights Law Group, our seasoned lawyers have extensive experience in representing new mothers and pregnant employees. Call us so we can help you fight for your rights!
With offices in both Oakland and San Anselmo, our pregnancy discrimination lawyers are convenient to the entire San Francisco Bay Area. We serve many San Francisco clients who are researching potential pregnancy discrimination lawyers in San Francisco, for example. The next best step is to reach out for a consultation with a discrimination lawyer.