Working while pregnant poses unique challenges. Although women rely on their jobs to support their growing families, employers are often hostile to pregnant works and devalue new mothers. Unfortunately, some employers treat pregnant employees differently or refuse to hire them altogether.
The San Diego pregnancy discrimination lawyers at King & Siegel LLP are here to help. We understand your struggle and will fight hard to ensure you receive equal treatment before and after childbirth. Contact us today to speak with a San Diego pregnancy discrimination lawyer.
Pregnancy Discrimination is Illegal
California has strong laws to protect members of vulnerable groups, including pregnant women. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits employers from discriminating against pregnant employees or job applicants. Under FEHA, employers cannot fire, refuse to hire, demote, or take any adverse actions against an employee because they are pregnant or recently had a baby.
Federal laws also protect pregnant workers. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 safeguards employees from discrimination based on sex, which includes pregnancy. Additionally, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act states that employers can’t treat pregnant employees unfavorably when it comes to job opportunities, pay, or any aspect of employment.
Forms of Pregnancy Discrimination
If you file a San Diego pregnancy discrimination lawsuit, you must show that your employer engaged in illegal conduct. Our lawyers often help victims who experience the following types of discrimination:
- Hiring discrimination. Some employers refuse to hire a candidate who is pregnant, might become pregnant, or have plans to take maternity leave.
- Termination or demotion. It’s sadly common for employers to fire or demote an employee upon learning about their pregnancy. These employers usually cite vague performance-related issues to hide their true motives.
- Unequal treatment. Some workers get worse job opportunities and responsibilities compared to their non-pregnant coworkers.
- Hostile work environment. Managers sometimes try to coerce pregnant employees to resign. They might harass you, make offensive comments, or create a hostile work environment.
- Denial of accommodations. Employers must provide pregnant women with reasonable accommodations. Employers cannot deny extra breaks or modified job duties without engaging in the interactive process and showing that the accommodations would pose an “undue burden” on their business operations or finances.
- Retaliation. Some workers make formal internal complaints of pregnancy discrimination in an effort to correct the problem. In return, their managers may retaliate with false performance reviews, disciplinary actions, and even termination.
- Health benefits and leave. Pregnant workers can continue to receive benefits while on job-protected maternity leave under the Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDLL) or California Family Rights Act (CFRA). Companies engage in discrimination if they reduce or deny these benefits.
- Failure to rehire. Some companies refuse to rehire a former employee after a maternity leave or pregnancy-related absence. It is illegal to refuse to hire someone because of their pregnancy status.
Discrimination can come in many forms. Speak with our San Diego pregnancy discrimination lawyers if something feels off at work. Your employer’s conduct may be discriminatory, even if it doesn’t fall under one of these categories.
What to Do After Experiencing Pregnancy Discrimination
Workplace discrimination happens far too often. Yet, many employees struggle to hold their employers accountable. Follow these steps to ensure you are in the best position to file a lawsuit against your employer.
Keep detailed records of discriminatory actions, including dates, times, and names. Save emails, memos, or any other documentation that may support your case. This evidence will help prove your claim, and you want to document it before it is lost or deleted.
Report Conduct to Your Employer
Notify your human resources department or a higher-level manager about the discriminatory actions. Follow the company’s policies and procedures for reporting discrimination. Keep a record of your complaints and any actions taken by the company in response. If you don’t file this complaint, your employer might deny responsibility by saying it never knew about the discrimination.
Speak with An Attorney
It’s crucial that you discuss your situation with San Diego pregnancy discrimination attorneys. They can assess your case, guide you on your rights, and recommend the best course of action. If you file a lawsuit, your attorneys will take care of the entire process.
Compensation and Remedies
Victims of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace suffer emotional, financial, and reputational harm. Seeking compensation and remedies is one way to address these damages.
Filing a lawsuit can help you recover the following:
- Reinstatement. Your employer may be required to rehire you in your previous position or a similar one.
- Job accommodations. Your employer may be forced to provide accommodations to ensure a fair work environment.
- Back pay. If you lost wages or benefits due to discrimination, you may be entitled to back pay to recover this income.
- Front pay. If reinstatement is not an option, you might receive front pay to compensate for future lost wages.
- Emotional distress. You can request financial compensation for stress, anxiety, and other emotional hardships.
- Punitive damages. In egregious cases, the court might award punitive damages to penalize your employer for engaging in egregious conduct.
It’s important to note that the damages you can recover vary depending on the circumstances of your case. Speaking with an attorney can help you get an approximate value of your claim.
Schedule a Consultation
Trust the team at King & Siegel LLP to represent you and fight hard to protect your rights. We know all the tricks employers use to avoid liability. Our firm has helped recover millions of dollars for employees in discrimination cases. Call today to speak with our San Diego pregnancy discrimination attorneys.