A few months ago, the United States Supreme Court ruled that employers cannot impose a "significant burden" on pregnant workers and that an employer is not justified in making accommodations for a large percentage of non-pregnant workers, while denying the same kinds of accommodations to pregnant workers. This is a huge step in the right direction.
Individuals in California who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant may be particularly interested in the results of one future Supreme Court ruling. That ruling has to do with pregnancy discrimination and how that discrimination is interpreted. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act was passed by Congress in order to protect pregnant women from job discrimination and to remind employers that doing so was illegal. However, a woman working for UPS was denied a request to only lift boxes weighing under 20 pounds despite having a note from her midwife requesting light duty for the duration of her pregnancy.
Deciding to have a child can be a very exciting time in a person’s life. However, that excitement could become tainted if an employer expresses negative attitudes toward an employee potentially becoming pregnant. There have, unfortunately, been numerous cases of pregnancy discrimination across the country, including in California. However, recent changes in discrimination guidelines may help lessen the likelihood of employees facing such a situation.
Although becoming pregnant might be exciting for a woman, she may also fear that she will be passed up for a job due to her baby bump. Although pregnancy discrimination is illegal, some managers in California and other states sometimes avoid hiring pregnant women for fear that they will not stick around the office for long. When a person experiences this type of discrimination, she has the right to file a claim against the company that allegedly committed the wrongdoing.
A 36-year-old woman filed a lawsuit more than four years ago against film giant Lucusfilm Ltd., claiming she was terminated as an assistant to the estate manager at George Lucas's San Anselmo estate because she was pregnant. Attorneys for the company denied her allegations of employment discrimination, claiming she hid her pregnancy until she had a job offer in an effort to be covered by company benefits.
A California woman has filed a lawsuit against her employer, supermarket chain Albertsons, alleging that the grocery store's failure to accommodate the her high-risk pregnancy resulted in the death of her baby. The lawsuit comes on the heels of a recent report from the National Women's Law Center finding that pregnant workers routinely are subjected to pregnancy discrimination and denied basic accommodations needed to keep working during pregnancy.
Californians may be interested in a new report that claims pregnant women are often denied accommodations and fired as a result of their pregnancy. The report, co-authored by the National Women's Law Center and A Better Balance, says women who face pregnancy discrimination often work in low-wage jobs, where workers may have to stand for 8-10 hours a day. Pregnant women may need additional breaks, or they may be considered to be a liability to the company.
A spa located in California is being sued for pregnancy discrimination. According to one woman who is suing the spa, she was an employee for nine years and managed to obtain a corporate position in the company thanks to her hard work. When she announced her pregnancy, she reportedly faced negative comments, and some co-workers made statements about women not returning to work after giving birth. After she went on maternity leave, things did not improve. Though the woman in question stated that she attempted to do her job well, she was dealing with a hostile work environment.
After hearing three weeks of testimony from 20 witnesses, including filmmaker George Lucas, a California jury awarded a former Lucasfilm employee more than $100,000 in damages for pregnancy discrimination. On review, the 1st District Court of Appeals found the trial court judge erred in instructing the jury and ordered a retrial. Now the plaintiff is appealing to the California Supreme Court.The woman filed the original lawsuit in 2009 after she was hired to fill a position as assistant to Lucas' estate manager. She never began her employment, however, claiming she was fired because of her pregnancy. Lucas' film company denied the claim, asserting that the woman intentionally hid her pregnancy in order to take advantage of company health benefits.
A California jury has awarded a former model on "The Price Is Right" game show punitive damages of $7.7 million for pregnancy discrimination and wrongful termination. The woman, who appeared on the show for seven years prior to the birth of her twins, already had been awarded actual damages of $777,000. The punitive damages award is in addition to the earlier award. The show's producers are appealing.The former model, who tried to conceive for years before finally becoming pregnant, said the show's executive producer was upset when she told him she was having twins, expressing concern that she would get really big. She also said her co-workers called her "wide load" and teased that she would break the set with the additional baby weight. Once her pregnancy started to show, the producers stopped calling her for work, and when she tried to return from maternity leave, she was rejected.