What to Do If Your Employer Violates California Maternity Leave Laws
When you are pregnant or about to welcome a new child into your home, federal and California laws protect your right to take time off to tend to your health and family. These laws are the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave laws, and the California Family Rights Act. If your employer violates California maternity leave laws, you can file a complaint with the state or federal government to enforce your rights and recover damages. Initiating legal action may sound like a lot to take on when addressing health needs or an expanding family, but you do not have to do it alone. Our experienced employment attorneys at Bibiyan Law Group, P.C., have received top honors from the legal community, and we fight aggressively for the needs and rights of the California workforce. Contact us today!
Enforcing Your Maternity Leave Rights
The first step to asserting your leave rights is understanding what those rights are and when you can claim them. Under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), employers must provide employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for serious, family-related matters. Also, California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) law allows employees to take up to four months of paid, job-protected leave for pregnancy-related disabilities.
Know Who Qualifies for Leave
Employees can receive job-protected leave under the following circumstances:
- When the employee has a serious health condition that affects their ability to work;
- When the employee needs time to tend to a parent, child, or spouse with a serious health condition;
- When the employee needs time to welcome a new child into their household within the first year of the child’s life, of the child’s foster care placement, or of the child’s adoption; or
- When the employee needs time to tend to an exigency related to a spouse’s, parent’s, or child’s military duty.
Under the FMLA and CFRA, a “serious health condition” includes pregnancy.
There are some limitations on which employees can claim PDL, FMLA, or CFRA benefits. An individual who is pregnant or a new parent is entitled to FMLA benefits only if their employer has 50 or more employees and only if they have worked at least 1,250 hours in the past year and worked for the employer for at least 12 months. Individuals are entitled to CFRA benefits only if their employer has five or more employees and they have worked for the same amount of time required under the FMLA. Those with pregnancy-related disabilities can receive PDL benefits only if their employer has at least five employees.
Give Your Employer Notice
To take advantage of any of the leave laws mentioned above, you typically must give your employer 30 days’ notice of your intention to take leave. You might also have to give your employer a written certification from your healthcare provider regarding your need to take leave. You should keep all notices and certifications you have provided your employer. These documents are crucial to holding your employer accountable for any noncompliance with the leave laws.
Know What Constitutes a Leave Law Violation
When an employee takes job-protected leave under the FMLA, PDL, or CFRA, their employer must hold their position for them until they return, and the employer must maintain their benefits and seniority level until they return. In general, an employer might be liable for unlawful activity if it does any of the following regarding your right to maternity leave:
- Refusing to grant FMLA, PDL, or CFRA leave after receiving proper notice;
- Terminating you because you took leave;
- Reducing your pay or benefits because you took leave;
- Demoting you because you took leave; or
- Refusing to reinstate your job, the same pay, or your benefits after you return to work.
When your boss violates maternity leave laws by engaging in any of the above-listed behaviors, they could be subject to paying you damages. Our extensive network of seasoned employment attorneys can help you determine if you are the victim of a leave law violation, and we can gather the best evidence to prove your case.
File a Maternity Leave Claim Against Your Employer
Employees can file a claim with the government to recoup damages and recover their right to take leave under PDL, FMLA, or CFRA. Victims of CFRA or PDL violations can file their complaints with the California Civil Rights Department (CRD), and victims of FMLA violations can file their claims with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD). A victim also has the option of suing their employer in civil court.
Collect Evidence of Your Leave Needs and Your Employer’s Violations
As your court case progresses or as the CRD or WHD investigates your case, you will need to provide proof regarding the following:
- Your eligibility under PDL, CFRA, or FMLA laws;
- Your need to take leave;
- Your employer’s violation of one of the leave laws; and
- The damage you have suffered because of the employer violation.
You may need to compile medical records, employment records, financial statements, correspondence, and witness testimony to support your case. At Bibiyan Law Group, P.C., we have the legal tools and experience to handle this task for you and maximize your damages.
Contact Us Immediately
Making time for a new child or working while pregnant is no easy feat. You deserve all the support you can get, including legal support. This is why Bibiyan Law Group, P.C., is here. We are passionate about protecting the rights of workers all over California. Over the years, we have won millions of dollars for our clients, and our clients give us top reviews. If you need a strong advocate, please give us a call or contact us online.