It is extremely common for women on maternity leave to suddenly find out that their company replaced them. Sometimes they even find out from coworkers that they’ve been fired (but the company hasn’t notified them yet).
Is this unlawful? What should you do about it? Do you need a lawyer? This article was written by Branigan Robertson, an employment lawyer in California.
Replacement is Unlawful… (Well, Sometimes its Unlawful…)
In a lot of cases, the employer is not very happy when he finds out an employee is pregnant. Why? Because this would mean a long leave of absence and time away from the office. That can be extremely inconvenient for a company. Or employers know that when the mother returns to work, she might have to leave work early and take time off to care for her newborn.
So, it’s not surprising that sometimes the company responds by replacing the employee while she is out on maternity leave. If done incorrectly, this is illegal and violates multiple laws.
Occasionally, an employee may be terminated while on maternity leave or right when she returns from maternity leave. If the termination was motivated by the pregnancy, maternity leave, or disabilities stemming from the pregnancy, this type of conduct by the employer is unlawful. It is a violation of law for an employer to terminate an employee because she is pregnant.
However, in some situations, it is perfectly legal to replace the employee while she is on maternity leave. In other situations it is perfectly legal to terminate an employee while on maternity leave. How can normal people figure out if the law was broken?
Easy. Read about all the maternity leave laws that apply to you.
Inform Yourself. Knowledge is Power When it Comes to Maternity Leave
If you are in California, there are several laws that protect women on maternity leave. We recommend that you inform yourself as to what CA law says, the rights women have under those laws, and learn to identify violations. Do that by reading these pages:
- California Family Rights Act (CFRA),
- Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL),
- Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA),
- Pregnancy Discrimination,
- Reasonable Accommodations,
- Baby Bonding,
- and more.
What Should You Do?
First, watch this video.
If you would rather watch this video on YouTube, click here.
So, to answer the question, “Is there anything I can do?” Yes, there is. Generally, if you have been terminated while on maternity leave or upon returning to work after maternity leave, you should contact a law firm immediately to see if you have a potential case.
In most situations, if you’ve been fired while on a leave of absence, it is extremely wise to reach out to a lawyer for a free consultation. If you think we have earned your phone call, you can contact us here. Our office provides free consultations for women in this situation on a daily basis.
Lastly, if you have informed your employer that you are pregnant and they are taking adverse action against you, or have terminated shortly after you informed them of your pregnancy, call our firm for a free consultation.