As a new mother in California, you may have the right to either six or eight weeks of paid family leave after your child is born. This is a vital time for parents to bond with their newborn baby without having to go without needed income.
But once they get back to work, many women become victimized by discrimination. Employers sometimes place these women in jobs with lower pay and fewer prospects than what they had before their maternity leave. This is to “punish” the woman for taking her legally entitled leave, as well as to send a message to other employees that it could harm their careers to take parental leave.
Not only is this an unfair practice, but it’s also against the law in California. Under the law, demoting a worker after she returns to work from maternity leave, also known as pregnancy disability leave, is a form of pregnancy discrimination. Victims have the right to seek compensation in court.
The same or a ‘comparable’ job
The law requires California employers to have a job available for an eligible employee once they return from maternity leave. But it goes beyond that. The job must be the same one the employee had before her leave, or at least be comparable. By ‘comparable’, the law means a job with the same pay, benefits and tasks as the one the woman had prior to her leave. Firing or failing to provide a returning mother with the same or a comparable job violates the worker’s rights.
Often, the only way to repair the damage that this form of discrimination has on your career is to file a lawsuit. You may be entitled to extensive compensation, and a successful verdict or settlement could force your company to change how it treats new mothers.