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What employee rights do I have to take Family Leave or Pregnancy Leave?

In California, our “leave law” is known as the Family Medical Leave  Act”, or CFRA. This law is almost identical to and runs concurrently with the federal law known as Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Bothg acts require that your employer have at least 50 employees within 75 miles of your regular place of work, and tha tyou have worked at least 1,250 hours in the last twelve months. The law is enforced by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. You must (or your attorney, as Stephen Danz does for our clients) get a “right to sue” letter from this agency within one year of the last act of like-kind discirmination.

Leave is allowed if you have a serious health condition. Under the California law, pregnancy, childbirth and related conditions are provided for under a different law. The qualifying health condition may be for yourself or your child, spouse, domestic partner or parent. Leave may also be used for child birth, adoption or foster car placement. Family members and veterans can take leave for up to 26 weeks and is available for spouses, children, parents or next of kin. Your vet must have been in the Armed Forces within the last five years.

Closely related but in addition to CFRA and FMLA is California Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDLL). If you are disabled by prenancy, childbirth or a related medical condition, you are allowed to take leave. There is no minimum period of employment. A recent California Supreme Court decision affirmed that pregnancy disability is a form of sex discrimination. Employees are protected from sex discrimiantion under Government Code Section 12940(a).

Remember that if you have a disability which is permanent, semi permanent or “regarded as such”, then your employer must consider reasonable accommodations such as extending your leave. While indefinite extensions by your doctor are too indefinite to require employer leave extension, in many cases evidence will show that you can return to an existing position (note we did not say “your old job”) at some time in the foreseeable future. Hanson vs. Lucky Stores, 74 Cal.App4th 215, 226 (1999).

In future blogs, we’ll look at workman’s compensation discrimination laws in California, including Labor Code 132a. This protects industrially-injured workers from discrimination based on being injured or filing a claim. Our firm represents employees throughout the State of California for violations of leave laws. Don’t let employee rights become employer wrongs! This blog is educational in nature only and we’d be happy to discuss the specific facts of your case any time. Just call! 877 789-9707. Steve