Discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, is prohibited by both the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the federal Title VII. Pursuant to the guidelines published by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, it is unlawful for an employer to ask a prospective employee whether or not she is or intends to become pregnant. So-called “maternal profiling” in which employers discriminate against women who have children, or women who will have children in the future, violates both FEHA and Title VII.
Pregnancy Leave Discrimination
Denial of pregnancy leave is one form of pregnancy discrimination. Pregnant women are entitled to protected leave under different statutes and an employer who violates the statutory rights of employees to take protected leave under any of these statutes is in violation of the law and liable for damages.
The maximum possible combined statutory leave entitlement under the applicable bodies of law is four months plus 12 workweeks. In order to reach this maximum entitlement, the employee must be disabled by pregnancy for four months and then request and be eligible for a 12 week leave under the California Family Rights Act for reason of the birth of the child.
FEHA, at California Government Code, Section 12945 (b) (2) requires that if your employer has a policy or practice that requires that temporarily disabled employees be transferred to less strenuous or hazardous positions while they are disabled, then the employer may not refuse to transfer you while you are pregnant, if you ask to be transferred according to this practice.
It is an unlawful employment practice for an employer to refuse to grant pregnancy leave to an eligible employee. In order to prove that an employer unlawfully denied pregnancy disability leave, the employee must show that the employee was disabled by pregnancy and that the request for leave was reasonable. A request to take a pregnancy disability leave is “reasonable” if it complies with any applicable notice requirements, and if it is accompanied, where required, by a certification.
© 2008 Broderick Law Firm, Inc.
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