You should immediately contact an employment attorney about your rights and potential claims. This forum does not provide enough space for an adequate consultation and most attorneys will provide a free consultation.
I'm very sorry to hear this happened to you, especially at a time you want to be bonding with the baby.
As you know, it is illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of pregnancy. The Fair Employment and Housing Act ("FEHA") prohibits it. Even after you exhaust your FMLA/CFRA leave, you may be entitled to additional leave as a reasonable accommodation for a pregnancy-related disability.
It is a particularly good fact for you that you have two letters from your employer contradicting each other.
You may have many remedies available under the FEHA, including back pay, front pay, emotional distress damages, and attorney's fees.
If you believe that you have been fired illegally on the basis of your disability, and you choose to take action, make sure to do so before your statute of limitations expires, or your rights may be lost forever.
I hope this information is helpful to you.
Craig T. Byrnes
Employment Lawyer - Manhattan Beach
Disclaimer: Please be aware that I am not offering legal advice, nor forming an attorney-client relationship with you. I am not representing you, nor doing anything to protect your legal rights. If you believe that you have suffered a legal wrong, take action before any statute or limitations expires, or your right to do so may be lost forever. Good luck in your legal matter.
You next step, undoubtedly, is to speak with an employment lawyer. It sounds like you may have a case for wrongful termination/failure to provide pregnancy leave, but a full consultation is needed to determine whether you have a claim.
Unfortunately, I cannot cay anything more than the other attorneys. Discrimination cases tend to be complicated and fact intensive. You should with an attorney immediately.
The California Employment Lawyers Association maintains a list of employment law attorneys who represent employees against employers. Follow the link to: www.cela.org.
Gather all of your documents and set up a free consultation with an attorney. Many attorneys will meet with you to discuss your case in detail. Don't delay.
This e-mail contains general information about legal matters. The information is not legal advice, and should not be treated as such. This response does not form an attorney-client relationship.
You are wise to inquire. It is unlawful to fire an employee because of her pregnancy or related leave. The California Pregnancy Disability Leave Law provides up to 4 months of protected (can't be fired because of the leave) leave and the FMLA and California equivalent, CFRA provide up to 3 more months of protected leave for medical issues, including pregnancy, birth, baby bonding, etc. As such, you may have been entitled to up to SEVEN months of protected leave and your rights may have very well been violated. Many of us offer a free phone consultation. Call to discuss. Unfortunately, there are still many employers who are unaware of the laws regarding pregnant employees and these types of cases can be very worthwhile to pursue. In addition, because you were fired, you should be able to collect unemployment compensation.
In California, a pregnant employee may receive up to four months of pregnancy leave, during which time her job is protected. In addition, under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), an employee may be entitled to up to three months of leave for the birth of a child for purposes of bonding. An employer is prohibited from retaliating against an employee who takes pregnancy or CFRA leave by terminating or otherwise demoting her. From your facts, it looks as though you may have potential discrimination and wrongful termination claims against your employer. Contact an experienced employment law attorney in order to determine the next best step for you in your situation.
I agree this appears to be a good case. You have a combination of rights to leave for pregnancy disability which add up to 4 + 3 months and in some cases more.
We are all only looking at the bare facts you provided but there must be some details that either help or hurt your case. Those details are what matters to build this up to something worth pursuing to maximum value.
Plaintiff's attorneys in Employment Law like myself and others I work with who have over 25 years of success in this field work for cases like yours where there are blatant violations protected by the law.
You should speak to an Attorney soon who believes in your case and specializes in Employment law matters.
All the best to you.
Any advice, suggestions, answers to questions, directions, either implied or express, are not binding, do not create an Attorney-Client relationship, are not solicitations but merely a generalized response or comment. The facts of every case is unique and requires carefully thought out investigation and research exclusively available during a one-on-one true Attorney-Client consultation including a signed fee agreement.
Emotional distress caused by personal injury Employment Unemployment compensation Discrimination in the workplace Disability discrimination in the workplace Employee protection laws Reasonable accommodation of employees FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) and employees Termination of employment Wrongful termination of employment Pregnancy Disability discrimination Discrimination