I was working at a supermarket here in merced and i started in june. I was put on leave after 4 months of pregnancy in November because my employer could not meet my doctors restrictions in march I received a letter from work stating that if I did not return to work I would be dismissed. I was dismissed in march. At 8 months pregnant. Is that legal , my employer put me on leave because they couldn't find any other position for me. Do they have the right to fire me ? Thank you for your feedback in advance
You can be fired while on pregnancy leave but not BECAUSE you are pregnant. Pregnancy discrimination is unlawful under California and federal law.
FEDERAL RIGHTS: In 1978, Congress amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e to 2000e–17, by passing the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, "discrimination" means to treat a pregnant employee differently from non-pregnant employees, and adversely. The employee must be able to make a connection between the discriminatory treatment and the protected status (being pregnant). In other words, the employee will have to show that her pregnancy is reason the employer is treating her adversely. There are various ways to do this. Negative comments from supervisors or management; a sudden change in treatment (for the worse) as soon as or shortly after the employer learns about the pregnancy or the effects of pregnancy; or other incriminating conduct. Note it is not unlawful for an employer to apply the same leave of absence policy to pregnant and non-pregnant employees.
For information on pregnancy discrimination, see:
For information on the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, see:
This law is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). www.EEOC.gov
Under federal law, leave taken for an employee's incapacity due to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions is governed by the Family and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. section 2101 et seq. (FMLA), just like leave for any other “serious health condition” of an employee. See my Avvo guide to the FMLA for more information: http://www.avvo.com/pages/show?category_id=6&permalink=family-and-medical-leave-fmla-summary-of-key-provisions.
CALIFORNIA RIGHTS: California employers must comply with federal law, as above, and also must comply with state law. The California pregnancy disability leave law, Government Code section 12945(a) (PDLL), is part of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, California Government Code sections 12900, et seq. (FEHA). The PDLL requires employers to provide employees up to four months of unpaid leave for disability caused by pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical conditions.
Under some circumstances, an employer may be required to transfer an employee affected by pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions to a different job.
California has its own family and medical leave law, the California Family Rights Act, Government Code section 12945.2 (CFRA). It is substantially similar to the FMLA, but an employee's incapacity due to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical condition is not included in the definition of “serious health condition.” This is usually beneficial to the employee because CFRA leave and pregnancy disability leave are two separate and distinct rights under California law. They do NOT run concurrently, as they do under the FMLA. Instead, an employee in California may take four months of PDLL plus 12 weeks of family leave, provided of course that the employee meets the other conditions of these laws.
Please look at my guide to unlawful discrimination: http://www.avvo.com/pages/show?category_id=6&permalink=what-is-unlawful-employment-discrimination--california-law which should help you understand lawful and unlawful discrimination, how to enforce your rights, and time limits.
Employment law is complicated and fact specific. You may wish to speak with an experienced plaintiffs employment attorney. To find a plaintiffs employment attorney in California, please go to the web site of the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA). CELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the state for attorneys who represent working people. The web site is www.cela.org, and you can search for attorneys by location and practice area. Many CELA attorneys represent clients throughout the state.
@MikaSpencer * * * twitter.com/MikaSpencer * * * PLEASE READ: All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. * * * Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. * * * No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. * * * Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis.
California's Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDL), and the FMLA/CFRA protections which run concurrently, provide up to 12 weeks of protected job leave to pregnant women on account of disabling pregnancy-related conditions. Beyond this, employers have an obligation under the CFRA to "reasonably accommodate" pregnant woman if their condition "impairs a major life function." After child birth, employees may be entitled to additional protected time of for "baby bonding."
This is the cliff notes summary. Additional protections may or may not apply depending on your particular circumstances. It may very well be that your employer violated the law by terminating you when they did. It may be that they did not. Consultation with a local employment law attorney is strongly advised to determine whether you have a legal claim worth pursuing.
This answer is a general interpretation of the law and is not fact specific to your case. Likewise it does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should seek an attorney for a review of your specific facts and documents.
You did not provide the years that you were hired and terminated, but it appears that it was less than one year. Consequently, you may not have been protected by the CFRA/FMLA to the extent that either may have applied if you were there longer.
That said, as the other posters eluded to, the Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (the "PDLL") provides 16 weeks of leave for disabilities related to pregnancy. Additionally, an employer is obligated to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnancy related conditions, which include reassignment to any program for the industrially injured.
I very, very strongly suggest that you contact an employment attorney as quickly as you can.
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