Articles Posted in pregnancy discrimination

When it comes to California pregnancy discrimination, it’s rarely as obvious as your boss saying, “You’re being fired because you’re pregnant.” That can lead many who have experienced pregnancy discrimination to second-guess themselves, and whether their experience was, in fact, discriminatory and based on their protected status as a pregnant person. In fact, too often, targets of pregnancy discrimination are gaslit into believing they were the problem.Los Angeles pregnancy discrimination lawyer

Meanwhile, the Equality and Human Rights Commission reports some 54,000 women a year lose their jobs due to pregnancy. 1 in 5 experience workplace harassment or negative comments due to their pregnancy. 1 in 10 are discouraged from attending their regular doctor’s appointments.

As longtime Los Angeles pregnancy discrimination lawyers, we’re committed to helping those who have experienced these ordeals to sort through these events through a legal lens, with the goal of determining whether they are legally actionable.

The following are some red flags that you may be experiencing discrimination related to pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood. These include: Continue Reading ›

One would think that as workplaces become more progressive and inclusive that pregnancy-based discrimination would increasingly become an issue of the past. Unfortunately, pregnancy discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in California workplaces have continued to rise the past five years. pregnancy discrimination Orange County

The U.S. Department of labor reports 85 percent of women will become mothers while working.

According to analysis by Bloomberg Law, the number of federal pregnancy discrimination lawsuits has been climbing since 2016, with a sharp uptick in 2020 and 2021, the latter potentially setting a new record – despite declining birth rates. As our Orange County pregnancy discrimination lawyers know, there are a few explanations for this. Among them:

  • Economic instability has always created vulnerability for pregnant workers. Employees who need parental leave and make use of employer-supplied health insurance benefits are inevitably going to cost employers more, at least in the short term.
  • When the economy is in flux, it can be tougher to find a new job after you’ve lost you’re old one. If you’re one of those who have lost their job unfairly – and are having a difficult time landing a new one – you may be more motivated to take legal action against your employer, partly because the economic damage suffered is more significant – especially if you now have an additional dependent.
  • In the earliest days of the pandemic, there was heightened concern that pregnant women might be at higher risk of infection and/or having severe reactions. Some adverse employment actions may have been taken with good intentions, but that doesn’t necessarily make them legal. Pregnant women were often among the first laid off at the start of COVID-related shutdowns.
  • When the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission restarted issuing Notices of Right to Sue back in August of 2020, there was a backlog that had to be processed fairly quickly. Individuals have 90 days to sue from the time they receive that green light. That could account for some of the uptick in 2020 cases.

Do I Have the Right to Sue for California Pregnancy Discrimination? 

Pregnancy discrimination cases can arise from failure to hire, demotion, failure to reinstate after pregnancy/childbirth leave, termination, failure to accommodate (including lactation) and more. Discrimination based on pregnancy is often attributed to inaccurate stereotypes, including misguided notions that pregnant women won’t perform their duties as well and mothers won’t fully commit to their jobs because they have kids. Potential employers continue to illegally ask female applicants if they have children or intend to. They may tell wrongly current workers they can’t accommodate them in pregnancy because of the physical nature of the job.

There are both federal and state protections against pregnancy discrimination and retaliation. Continue Reading ›

A former employee alleges Amazon’s pregnancy discrimination against her and failure to provide accommodations led her to suffer a miscarriage.pregnancy discrimination lawyer

According to Vice, the packer was 7 weeks pregnant when she suffered a miscarriage at the fulfillment center where she worked. In the weeks prior, she said she’d begged her warehouse manager and human resource office for lighter duty. She provided a doctor’s note requesting pregnancy accommodations, which indicated she was not to lift, push, pull or carry more than 20 pounds. She was also not to walk or stand for more than half of her shift. Her job involved loading packages onto delivery trucks. The bins she was responsible for lifting could be up to 50 pounds, repeatedly, over a 10-hour shift.

The worker said that when she provided the doctor’s note, she was told verbally that there were no specific areas for light work that wouldn’t require 15 pounds or more of lifting or for her not to be on her feet. Subsequently, her manager began repeatedly questioning why she was sitting, taking longer bathroom breaks and moving more slowly.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that the risk of miscarriage can increase when workers routinely engage in heavy lifting, standing on their feet for long hours and bending at the waist. Plaintiff said her manager was not accommodating of any of this. Although workers are only allowed 10 minutes of “time off task” daily, the size of the warehouse means it takes six minutes just to talk to the bathroom and back. It would be virtually impossible to take more than one bathroom break daily with those kind of restrictions. Continue Reading ›

It’s been less than one year since the U.S. Supreme Court waded into the question of pregnancy discrimination versus religious rights in a case involving a Catholic school and its teachers. In the 7-2 ruling, the court held that federal employment discrimination laws aren’t applicable at church-run schools to teachers whose duties include religious instruction. Now, the boundaries are being tested again.pregnancy discrimination lawyer

In a case out of New Jersey, an unmarried elementary art teacher in a Roman Catholic school was reportedly fired because she was pregnant and unmarried. The woman sued, alleging gender discrimination and sexual double standards. As her pregnancy discrimination lawyer explains it, the school’s only proof of a moral code violation was the pregnancy itself. For that, only a woman can be punished, not a man.

While the archdiocese in that area says the legal argument is a “must-win fight for the fundamental freedom of religion,” the principal, a nun, testified in depositions that she’d made no effort to ascertain whether other staffers (including men) were engaged in sex outside of marriage. The school, however, pointed to one case in the same archdiocese wherein a male teacher was fired when the woman he was dating became pregnant.

Pregnant workers have long faced discrimination in the workplace. California has some of the strongest protections for pregnant workers, but our employment discrimination lawyers in L.A. know employees in the rest of the country has not been so fortunate. That could soon change, if a new bill moving through the House is successful.pregnancy discrimination Los Angeles

The bill, called the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, or PWFA, was first introduced in 2012 – and nearly every House session since. In the meantime, pregnancy discrimination lawsuits across the U.S. have numbered in the thousands – including one that made it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Now, it seems the latest effort has real promise. When H.R. 1065 was first introduced several months ago, it got 225 sponsors and included representative from both sides of the political aisle, increasing optimism about its prospects.

What Would the PWFA Do? 

The main thing the PWFA could do for pregnant workers across the country is to both clarify and strengthen the decades-old Pregnancy Discrimination Act. This law made it unlawful for employers to use pregnancy as a determining factor when deciding who to hire, fire, promote, etc.

The PDA has some great intent and important protections. But as our Los Angeles pregnancy discrimination lawyers know, it doesn’t go far enough for many workers. It was passed as an amendment to the 1964 Civil Rights Act some four decades ago. The original federal law is frankly pretty ambiguous. Critical language is left undefined, and frequently, employee plaintiffs face an almost insurmountable proof burden to establish discrimination. Continue Reading ›

California law protects both transgender and pregnant workers, but rarely do employment law cases combine the two. Recently in New Jersey, a transgender man filed an employment lawsuit against Amazon alleging he was harassed and turned down for a promotion after revealing his pregnancy to his employer. Los Angeles LGBT employment lawyer

According to NBC News, the man informed his boss about the pregnancy in the summer of last year. His boss disclosed this information to other managers, and word spread throughout the facility. Soon, other warehouse workers were bullying and harassing him about using the men’s bathroom. Suddenly, his work performance came under fire. He was placed on paid leave after complaining to human resources. When he returned, he learned he’d been demoted to a position of “item picker,” which required him to lift heavy items on a routine basis. At that point, he told HR that the weight lifting requirements were causing him pain in his abdomen. Again, he was placed on paid leave and told to acquire a doctor’s recommendation for pregnancy-related accommodations. He did so, he said, but was denied.

He was then offered a promotion at a different facility – one that would have granted him a reprieve from the people harassing him – but that was later rescinded and he was fired. His termination came the same month he was to give birth. He now alleges gender discrimination and pregnancy discrimination, and is seeking recovery of lost wages and benefits as well as coverage of legal fees and punitive damages. Continue Reading ›

A mere month after giving birth, a former executive at SoulCycle was fired. Now, according to Business Insider, she’s suing for “blatant” pregnancy discrimination. She alleges in her 32-page complaint that the company’s CEO openly and vulgarly mocked parental leave prior to her taking it. She said the company “unforgivably” used the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to fire her, when the actual reason was discriminatory.L.A. pregnancy discrimination lawyer

At the time of her termination, plaintiff had worked for the corporation 7 years and oversaw more than 400 instructors. When she revealed her pregnancy late last year, she said, her superiors began treating her differently. She was told she’d be moved to a new position once her maternity leave was up. This new position, she says, was effectively a demotion, and there was no legitimate reason given for it. She had her child in late March. Little more than a month later, she was told her position was eliminated. She reports she wasn’t the only one. Three other women who had recently returned from maternity leave or were pregnant were also let go.

Her complaint had been filed after two instructors publicly quite their jobs over concerns about racial inclusivity. Continue Reading ›

A supermarket chain has agreed to pay nearly $3 million to settle a class action California pregnancy discrimination lawsuit for its refusal to allow pregnant workers to go on light duty – something it allowed other temporarily disabled workers to do.pregnancy discrimination

As our Orange County pregnancy discrimination lawyers can explain, both federal and state law provides protection for pregnant workers. The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act requires employers to treat women affected by pregnancy or related medical conditions the same way they would non-pregnant workers or applicants who have a similar ability/inability to work. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender – which includes pregnancy, childbirth and related conditions. FEHA also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation for a known physical disability of an employee unless they can show doing so would create an undue hardship. Continue Reading ›

Claims for pregnancy discrimination are spiking across the country, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Last year, the agency filed 3,000 claims of pregnancy discrimination nationally. More than $22 million in payouts for those claims were ultimately paid, which is a more than 30 percent increase in the annual average ($17 million) recorded over the last decade.pregnancy discrimination lawyer

Our Los Angeles pregnancy discrimination attorneys would point out too that this doesn’t even include pregnancy discrimination cases that are resolved through litigation in court. Some of those outcomes have been substantial, such as the $185 million California pregnancy discrimination damages awarded to a plaintiff in San Diego who was demoted and then later fired from her retail position after informing her boss she was pregnant. The company insisted she was fired for misplacing money, but a jury found that reasoning to be pretextual (an excuse) and decided the case in her favor.

That was in 2014, and the number of claims and payouts has been steadily rising ever since. A big part of the problem is too many employers still are apparently failing to grasp what their responsibilities are under state and federal gender discrimination laws pertaining to pregnancy. They do what they may feel is expedient for the company financially without fully examining the legality and potential repercussions. Also, employees are becoming increasingly aware of their legal rights – particularly with the cultural influence of the #metoo movement. Continue Reading ›

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has launched an investigation into an alleged case of pregnancy discrimination stemming from a former employee’s memo that went viral last year. pregnancy discrimination

The memo, titled, “I’m Not Returning to Google After Maternity Leave, and Here is Why, My Story of Retaliation and Discrimination at Google,” was penned by a former manager. She had worked for the company for five years, receiving stellar reviews during that time. According to her letter, treatment by her supervisors abruptly changed once she spoke up to human resources on behalf of a worker who was pregnant. Her supervisor had begun making inappropriate comments about the pregnant worker to other managers, lamenting that she was pregnant again, saying the employee was overly-emotional and difficult to work with while pregnant and expressing regret that adverse action could not be taken against her because, “you can’t touch employees after they disclose such things.” Once HR spoke to the offending supervisor, her attitude toward the claimant suddenly changed.

Claimant, who herself was pregnant, says the company retaliated against by unfairly denying her a leadership position and suddenly giving her poor performance reviews. She was transferred to another team at her request, but was told she couldn’t be a manager until after she returned from maternity leave because her being gone for three months would “rock the boat.” She later told media outlets that it wasn’t until she hired an employment attorney that the company’s HR department finally launched an investigation into her numerous complaints of discrimination and retaliation. Continue Reading ›

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