Pregnancy can be a wonderful and exciting chapter in your life, but it can also bring many new worries, especially if you are experiencing a difficult pregnancy. If you are a pregnant employee in California, you have certain rights and protections under California law, including the right to reasonable accommodations stemming from your pregnancy or childbirth.
If you are a hospital employee and are pregnant or might become pregnant, this blog post is for you. Pregnancy could affect all stages of your employment, from hiring and firing to job assignments to post-birth time with your child. It is critical to know what your options are and how the law can protect you.
A general merchandise manager for Albertson's has filed a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against the grocery chain for failing to accommodate her need for light duty during her high-risk pregnancy. According the lawsuit, the 30-year-old woman requested accommodations in writing three times, only to be ignored by her superiors.
Pregnant workers who request temporary accommodations are still being put on unpaid leave or fired prior to childbirth, according to a report recently released from the National Women's Law Center and A Better Balance. The requests for accommodation that are triggering employers to wrongfully terminate pregnant workers are somewhat shocking in how simply the requests could be met without firing the employee, such as additional bathroom breaks, the ability to drink water throughout a shift or simply to sit rather than stand while working.
All women in the workplace are at risk of discrimination because of a pregnancy. But, the practice may be most common among supervisors of those most vulnerable to lost wages, a diminished paycheck or a lost job: women in low-wage positions.
Despite California and federal protections for pregnant workers, complaints nationwide of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace have increased by 35 percent over the last 10 years. In the last year alone, 3,745 pregnancy discrimination complaints were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The goal of a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit is always at least twofold: 1- To protect the expectant mother's job and right to be free from pregnancy-related discrimination and 2- To protect other female employees from going through the same mess with an employer just because of a pregnancy.
Kelli Smith, a sales representative for Merck, claims that she was essentially punished by the company for having a baby in 2010. She took maternity leave after the birth of her child and asserts in a recently-filed pregnancy discrimination lawsuit that she received poor performance reviews after taking job-protected medical leave that stalled her career.
Demetria Peart began working as a legal secretary for Latham Watkins in April of 2007. The fall of the same year, she learned that she was pregnant. Shortly thereafter, she was forced to take time off of work for complications related to her pregnancy. In January of 2008, she was told not to return.