California provides extensive workplace protections during and after pregnancy.
Being pregnant is often one of the happiest times of a woman’s life. Yet for many women, pregnancy comes with a lot of challenges, including at their job. Many women and their partners worry that welcoming a child to their family may put their job in jeopardy. Fortunately, California has a range of laws that protect expectant mothers and their partners.
These laws cover three basic categories: disability leave, maternity or paternity leave and breastfeeding. If your employer violates your rights related to these laws, a California employment lawyer can help you seek justice, which may include filing a lawsuit against your company.
First, in California, most employers are required to provide pregnancy disability leave if they regularly employ 5 or more people, if they are a state or local governmental entity, or if they are an agent of a covered employer. Under this law, disability leave is available for any woman who experiences a disability related to her pregnancy — whether that disability occurs during or after pregnancy. For example, an employee may take leave for severe morning sickness during her pregnancy, or for postpartum depression after giving birth.
Employees who take pregnancy disability leave are protected by California law. This means that they are generally entitled to return to their same position when they come back to work, or to be placed in a comparable position. Pregnancy disability leave does not have to be paid, but employers must continue to provide medical coverage and other health benefits.
Second, employers with 20 or more employees and state and local government agencies must provide new parent leave to employees who have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months before taking leave. Parents who are covered under California’s New Parent Leave Act may take up to 12 weeks of job-protected parental leave after welcoming a child into their family though birth, adoption or fostering. It is available for both mothers and fathers alike. As with pregnancy disability leave, new parent leave is not required to be paid although employers must continue to provide benefits.
Third, if you choose to breastfeed a baby, your right to do so is protected under the California Labor Code. Under this law, employers must provide a reasonable amount of time to employees who want to pump breast milk for an infant, each time that the employee needs to do so. In addition, under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, employees must be provided a place other than a bathroom to pump. This place must be shielded from view and protected from intrusion by coworkers.
If your employer violates your rights related to pregnancy, new parent leave, or breastfeeding, you may be able to file a claim against them for a violation of state and/or federal law. A skilled California employment lawyer can work with you to investigate your case and determine if any violations of the law have occurred.
At PLBSH, we are dedicated to helping employees who have faced workplace injustice, including wrongs related to pregnancy and becoming a parent. Contact us today at (800) 435-7542 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a consultation with a California employment lawyer today.