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¡No Se Deje!
Federal law and California law protect pregnant women from illegal discrimination. It is illegal to withhold a job offer from, or to fire a woman, because she is pregnant. It is also illegal to withhold a promotion, a raise, an assignment, a bonus or any other job related benefit because of pregnancy. The law also prohibits employers from discriminating against pregnant women in deciding who will receive training, which and how many hours are worked, the amount of vacation and sick leave provided or job location. In short, pregnant women must be granted the same benefits and opportunities available to all employees.
Federal laws prohibiting discrimination against pregnant women only apply to employers that have 15 or more employees. California laws that prohibit discrimination against pregnant women only apply to employers that have 5 or more employees. These laws also apply to employers that are employment agencies, labor organizations and state and local governments. The number of employees determines whether Federal or California law or both are available to pregnant women.
Employers must treat women that are temporarily unable to perform job duties due to pregnancy the same as employees unable to perform job duties due to other causes. Employers can accommodate pregnant women by offering light duty, a different assignment, or a disability leave of absence. California law allows pregnant women that are determined to be temporarily disabled by their doctors to take up to 4 months of unpaid leave and to receive short term disability benefits from the state. Pregnant women must be allowed to work during their pregnancies as long as they are able to perform their job duties.
Pregnant women must be allowed to take pregnancy disability leave as needed. It needs not all be taken at once or in full day segments. Employees can take mornings off (during morning sickness) or any times of the day that they are unable to work due to pregnancy or childbirth. Under Federal law, women returning to work after childbirth must be given the same right to return to work as employees returning to work after other types of disabilities. California law allows women returning to work after childbirth to have the same or similar position, salary, location and other job conditions.
Federal and California law allow male and female employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave after the birth or adoption of a child or to care for a sick spouse, parent or child if the employer has at least 50 employees. Employers with 15 or more employees that provide health insurance, disability insurance and sick leave must include benefits for conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth. Time used for pregnancy leave must be considered the same as leave used for other disability absences when computing vacation time, seniority and pay raises. And employees on pregnancy disability leave can use paid vacation and sick leave days while they are on unpaid family leave. ¡NO SE DEJE! ®
JESS J. ARAUJO, ESQ.