Pregnancy Discrimination, Maternal Rights Discrimination, Accommodations
Managers must respect the mother or face the consequences. All managers came from a mother. Let’s remind them where they came from.
When a woman becomes pregnant, she is often confronted with her rights at work for the first time.
She has to figure out prenatal appointments, maternity leave, returning to work after baby, and at times, pumping. It can be a vulnerable time right when her career may finally be gaining momentum after many years of hard work.
A notice of pregnancy or request for time off can cause friction between a mother and a manager, as the manager’s needs and a mother’s needs may conflict. Luckily, the law is on our side. Managers may not deny an employee’s request for legally protected time off, even if it is a hardship on them. Managers may not treat a woman differently because she is pregnant or because she went on maternity leave. The State of California provides a maternal rights framework that is unparalleled anywhere in the US. Many employers, especially those headquartered in other states, are often quite shocked when they find out to what extent they need to accommodate California’s longer parental leaves and more extensive pregnancy and postpartum accommodation rights.
This often frustrates managers. When an employer feels resentful towards a woman’s upcoming absence, we need to watch out for signs of pregnancy discrimination.
Pregnancy discrimination goes beyond terminating pregnant women.
It also includes moving her, subtly or overtly, to the “mommy track.” This is the track of less opportunities, less interesting work, and less room for growth.
It may include ignoring her requests for help when she is experiencing morning sickness, needs to attend medical visits, or needs a modification to her job.
After the woman gives birth, the discrimination often intensifies. The manager may worry she will get pregnant again soon, or may believe that the woman is no longer in a protected class, as she is no longer pregnant. That is not true. An employee may not be retaliated against for requesting or taking a protected leave of absence. This also means the woman has to be reinstated to her previous job, or a similar job which needs to be virtually identical in terms of pay, location, schedule and responsibilities. If the woman chooses to pump, time and space needs to be made available to her.
These managers seem to care more about the bottom line than the baby, which forces the mother to be stuck between her boss’s and her baby’s needs, an impossible conundrum as she needs her job to care for the baby. This kind of discriminatory treatment can really affect a pregnancy or postpartum experience. She may be worried about the impact of the stress on her unborn baby, and can even taint the sacred bonding experience with her new child.
She may be worried about her job security, or feel betrayed after having worked so hard for this employer.
If this is your experience, you must reach out and let us help you.
You should not be penalized for choosing children.
In need of a pregnancy discrimination attorney? We are THE California pregnancy discrimination attorneys. Your babies are our future, and we must all do our part for you to have a healthy and supported pregnancy and postpartum experience.