I worked for a small company that was merging w/ another company. I had nothing but good job performance reports in my file. I was promised that I was a "package deal" w/ the merger. I spent months ensuring that the current clients would cross over to the new company. While trying to secure my maternity leave, I was constantly brushed aside. I was 8 months pregnant. On the day of the merger, instead of signing a contract w/ the new employer, I was terminated, without cause. I was told: "When you're done being pregnant, come back & see me." What are my rights?
It is unlawful to fire an employee BECAUSE she is pregnant or needs pregnancy related leave if the employer has 5 or more employees. If you were fired BECAUSE of your pregnancy, call an employment law attorney to discuss. You may have an excellent case. California has very strict laws which protect pregnant employees. Many of us offer a free phone consultation and take pregnancy discrimination cases at no cost to the employee. Find contact info on Avvo.com.
As other distinguished counsel on this site have noted, it is illegal for an employer to terminate an employee because of her pregnancy. There are laws in California that provide protection for pregnant employees and it would be advisable for you to discuss with an attorney who represents employees. Many such attorneys offer consultations free of charge.
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I agree with my colleagues. While it is not per se illegal to be terminated while pregnant (although it would raise suspicions) it is unlawful to terminate an employee because they are pregnant or requesting pregnancy related leave or an accommodation. Your situation presents serious cause to be concerned. There are factors that will can help or hurt your likelihood of prevailing in any legal action. However, it is worthwhile to speak to an employment attorney. Most of us who practice in this area of law will provide free consultations. You can find good employment lawyers here on AVVO or by going to CELA.ORG. You should act sooner rather than later. Good luck.
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Hope your baby and you are well! For an employer to fire an employee because of pregnancy is a violation of California law, which specifically prohibits pregnancy discrimination, and Federal law, which recognizes pregnancy discrimination as a type of sex discrimination. You should contact a lawyer who represents workers as soon as you are able. Look for one in your area at the website of the California Employment Lawyers Association www.cela.org where you can search by geographic location. There are time limits for bringing such claims (recently extended for California claims but much shorter for federal claims), so you should prioritize finding a lawyer, even though you have a lot of other things on your mind just now. Best of luck! I hope you find another job with a better employer. PS: don't forget to apply for unemployment benefits www.edd.ca.gov
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All of the above responses are correct. It is illegal in CA to terminate an employee because she is pregnant. An employer can terminate a pregnant employee but it must be for reasons unrelated to the pregnancy. I would suggest you create a timeline of events that occurred at the company. This is not likely to be the only one that is problematic.
Find an employment attorney as soon as you can so you can be apprised of your rights and take the appropriate actions to advance your case.
Good luck to you and your growing family!
Toni Y. Long is licensed to practice law in California. This response is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice for any particular case or client. This posting does not create an attorney-client relationship and is not covered by attorney-client privilege. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with an attorney retained specifically for your situation. This response is not intended to constitute an advertisement or a solicitation.
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