San Diego Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer
We are fortunate that the time when women were expected to give up working permanently once they became mothers has passed. For years, women were disadvantaged in the workplace and those years are behind us, at least in theory and in law, and women are now an essential part of the permanent workforce. Whether married or unmarried, the rights of women to earn a living and advance in their careers, regardless of their decision to bear children, is protected by legislation. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was amended in 1978 to include discrimination based on pregnancy and childbirth, by making it a form of sex discrimination.
Nevertheless, women still experience pregnancy-related discrimination. It affects lower income women with limited resources disproportionately. When a woman comes to the Harrison & Bodell employment law firm with a pregnancy discrimination case, we will take it on a contingency fee retainer so the woman doesn’t incur any upfront expenses in her pursuit of justice in the workplace.
Pregnancy-related protections articulated in Title VII apply to government and private employers with more than 15 employees:
- An employer cannot consider a woman’s pregnancy when making a hiring decision or consider a condition related to her pregnancy when determining a woman’s ability to perform a job. If a doctor’s statement is required for taking medical leave for other conditions, the employer may request the same statement for a pregnancy-related leave.
- If the pregnancy prevents a woman temporarily from performing her job, it must be treated exactly as any other temporary disability. A pregnant employee cannot be forced to take a leave during the pregnancy, and if she takes a temporary leave for a pregnancy-related condition, she may return to work when she is able and cannot be forced to remain out until the birth.
- A woman may return to work as soon as she is able following the birth. Her job must be held open for as long as a job is held for any employee on sick leave for any other medical condition or temporary disability.
- Employer-provided health insurance must cover expenses for pregnancy-related conditions and be reimbursed in exactly the same way as any other condition; benefits to pregnant employees on leave must be identical to those for any other employee on leave, and seniority, accrued vacation time, and salary increases must also be identical.
- Spouses of male employees are entitled to the same benefits as spouses of female employees.
- If a woman makes a discrimination complaint or files a lawsuit, it is illegal for the employer to retaliate.
In addition, the California Labor Law provides that employers must provide accommodations for women who are breastfeeding.
Proving Pregnancy Discrimination
It is often difficult to prove discrimination based on pregnancy. If a pregnant woman applies for a job and doesn’t get it, the employer, if questioned, will likely give another reason. If the woman has the stated qualifications and is not hired and the job remains unfilled, that would provide good evidence of discrimination. If another candidate was selected, however, it is more difficult. In other situations as well, employers can be expected to attempt to justify their decisions as being based on something other than bias.
To maximize your chance of winning your pregnancy discrimination case, you will need to have an experienced workplace discrimination lawyer working on your behalf.
San Diego Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyers
At Harrison & Bodell in San Diego, our employment attorneys are committed to workplace equality for all employees. We have the experience, knowledge, and social consciousness needed for a successful outcome for your pregnancy discrimination case. Call today for a free consultation.