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Bryant Whitten, LLP

Pregnancy discrimination and the FMLA

This blog has written previously about the many rights expectant mothers in California enjoy. These rights are enshrined in several different laws, both state and federal. Together, they ensure that a Fresno mom does not have to choose between having a child and maintaining her career. One such law which protects pregnant women, at least indirectly, is the Family & Medical Leave Act, or FMLA.

While not limited in scope to pregnancy, the FMLA protects women who have a medical condition related to pregnancy so that, if needed, they can take an unpaid leave from work without having to worry about having a job when they came back. Unfortunately, even large employers in this state who should know better sometimes try to skirt around the provisions of the FMLA. Sometimes, this is due to ignorance either on the part of the organization as a whole or on the part of individual managers. At other times, an employer's resistance to the FMLA is less benign and, instead, is driven by a concern for the bottom line or, worse, just plain vindictiveness.

Therefore, some pregnant women who need to take off from work because of a condition related to pregnancy may face unlawful pushback from their employers. In some cases, the discrimination may be outright, and employer may try to fire or punish an employee for taking leave. In other cases, the actions may be subtle in nature, such as when an employer challenges a doctor's medical opinion that a leave of absence is needed or even demands an employee show proof of her condition above and beyond what is needed.

When these sorts of things happen, a mother may not know where to turn, as the whole situation can be very frustrating and upsetting. In this respect, getting legal representation is a positive first step. Our law office, which serves Fresno and the Northern California region, has a record of holding employers accountable for their violations of FMLA.

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