Pregnancy discrimination has always been, somewhat unavoidably, an issue strictly affecting women, as the only gender able to become pregnant. However, a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit out of San Luis Obispo is challenging that notion.
SanLuisObispo.com reports plaintiff is a former high school counselor whose contract was not renewed – despite initially very positive evaluations of his work – after his wife gave birth to twins. The former counselor and new father said shortly after word of his wife’s pregnancy became common knowledge, his supervisor began making negative remarks about the news.
He’d been hired in the summer of 2015 for what was to be a one-year contract, with a shot at a permanent position if it went well. A month after landing the job, he learned his wife was pregnant, and two months after that, he told a co-worker. His supervisor allegedly made statements to the effect plaintiff would not be able to afford to care for his family and inquired about his wife’s stay-at-home lifestyle. At an evaluation meeting a couple of months later, he received positive reviews.
However, the tone of his reviews changed after he went on family leave when his wife gave birth. Although the principal had previously indicated the school was going to extend his contract into a permanent position, the vice principal stated they should keep their options open. The principal went on to say she was looking for a counselor who was ready to “work harder than they ever have before” and also reportedly called plaintiff’s newborn child “ugly.” Plaintiff was still on leave when the principal informed him the district was going to hire another person and his contract wouldn’t be renewed. He submitted an application for a different job, but his application went unanswered.
Plaintiff now alleges he was harassed, retaliated against and wrongfully terminated on the basis of his wife’s pregnancy. The school, in so doing, violated the California Family Rights Act, plaintiff says.
The CFRA of 1993 indicates that if you have more than 12 months of service in which you have worked 1,250 hours prior to the date of your leave, you have a right to family care or medical leave for a birth, adoption, foster care placement of a child or a serious health condition of a the worker or worker’s child, parent or spouse. Although only pregnant persons are entitled to pregnancy disability leave per Cal. Code Regs. Titl. 2 Section 11035(h), both parents may be entitled to “bonding leave” under CFRA, 2 CCR Section 11087.
When it comes to parental leave as allocated under Title VII, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled in the 2005 case of Johnson v. University of Illinois that if leave is given to mothers to provide time to care for and bond with their newborn, than there is no legitimate reason biological fathers should be denied this same benefit. Although Title VII does not require employers to provide child care leave if it provides no leave for other family obligations, FMLA requires that covered employers provide such leave.
If you are a spouse or parent who has been discriminated against for trying to avail yourself of guaranteed family leave benefits, our employment attorneys in Orange County can help.
Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 949.375.4734.
Former Atascadero school counselor says he was terminated because of his wife’s pregnancy, Nov. 19, 2017, By Lindsey Holden, San Luis Opisbo Tribune
More Blog Entries:
Pregnancy Discrimination Still Kicking in 2017, Sept. 6, 2017, Orange County Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer Blog