Fired for Taking Maternity Leave – Pt. II – Pregnancy Disability Leave

Image of pregnant woman on disability leave from work

Taking leave while you are pregnant can protect your health and the health of your child. Protect your health and protect your job.

For many women, pregnancy can result in medical complications, fatigue, stress, and strain on the body.  This may mean that your doctor recommends that you shouldn’t lift heavy objects, you should spend more time sitting, or that you shouldn’t be at work at all.  Thankfully, if your doctor recommends that you take some time off work to protect your health and the health of your child, California and Federal laws may protect your job.  If your employer has fire you or retaliated against you for taking leave, you may have a claim.

Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) and Maternity Leave

You may have heard the word “maternity leave” used by people to talk about taking time off of work while pregnant.  There are a number of laws which protect an employee’s right to take leave related to their pregnancy.  The Pregnancy Disability Leave law (PDL) is a California law that allows employees who are pregnant to take up to four months leave for issues related to their pregnancy.  If you work in California and your employer has five or more employees, you are probably eligible for this type of leave.  The PDL allows you to take leave for complications, severe morning sickness, or other disabilities related to pregnancy, childbirth, or a “related medical condition.”  Other laws allow you to take leave to bond with your baby.

Do I Get Paid While I am on Leave?

California and Federal Law do not require your employer to pay you while you are on Pregnancy Disability Leave, although some employers do have a policy of paying for pregnancy disability leave under their maternity leave policy.  However, your employer cannot fire you, pass you over for promotion, or retaliate against you for taking Pregnancy Disability Leave.  If this happens, you may have a claim for wrongful termination.

When Can I Take Leave?

You should talk to your doctor about when to take your leave.  Ultimately, it is up to you and your doctor to decide whether it is healthy for you to continue working at your job while you are pregnant.  Many doctors will recommend a pregnancy leave of 10-12 weeks for a normal pregnancy, which includes four weeks before childbirth and six weeks after.  Your doctor can recommend much more time though.  The PDL gives you up to four months of leave.  If you need more than four months, other laws may protect your leave.

CFRA, FMLA and Other Pregnancy Leaves

Taking pregnancy disability leave doesn’t prevent you from using other types of leave.  For example, you are entitled to twelve weeks of leave to bond with your child under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), whether or not you took Pregnancy Disability Leave.  This means that you could be eligible for a combined leave of almost seven months.  To learn more about taking leave to bond with your baby, see this article on baby bond leave.

Fired for Taking Pregnancy Leave?

If you were fired or retaliated against for taking leave related to your pregnancy, you should speak with an experienced employment rights attorney immediately.  You may be entitled to damages for lost wages and for the emotional distress that you suffered because of your employer.  Our attorneys offer free consultations and are standing by to assist you. To speak with one of our employment lawyers today, call (760)-239-0230, or leave us a message and we will contact you as soon as possible.

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David Peer

About the author

David focuses his practice on civil litigation for small businesses and individuals. Prior to founding Peer & Hart, PC, David worked in WilmerHale's Los Angeles office litigating complex matters for multi-national corporations. David was a member of WilmerHale's patent litigation group and was on the trial team for large-scale patent cases in Federal Court. In 2015, David helped try a multi-week, billion dollar patent case. David also took part in government investigations and major discovery projects, giving him a deep understanding of efficiency and cost-reduction strategies in pre-trial litigation.

Since forming Peer | Hart, David has defended his clients from employment suits and actions in front of administrative agencies. David has negotiated favorable settlements and counseled his clients on cost effective litigation strategy and litigation prevention. David has an engineering degree and is registered to prosecute patents in front of the US Patent and Trademark Office.

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