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discrimination and pregnancy disability leave California

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  • discrimination and pregnancy disability leave California

    I worked for a high end restaurant part time for over a year when I became pregnant. It’s a small locally owned company with about 30 employees. I notified the owner and we discussed my leave. I told him I expected I would be taking 12 weeks unpaid leave. I would be using my 6 weeks of disability insurance (sdi) and my 6 weeks paid family leave to bond with my new baby during this period. He said great, but I would lose my seniority and have to start at the bottom again. I gave him a notice saying I was taking my leave at the end of july.
    I left in july and on aug 13th I had my child. I sent my husband in to pick up my last paycheck on aug 14. I was still in the hospital. The manager had him sign for it.
    On October 15th I began to email asking when I would be put back on the schedule. I had my doctor fax him a return-to-work release. He said he would discuss my return at the weekly managers meeting. He never got back to me. I emailed him again and the same thing. I called. He ignored. And he just kept not being available. About 16 weeks after the birth of my child, my ol’ boss sends me an email saying the economy is horrid and there is ‘no room for me at the restaurant anymore.’ Um…Shouldn’t I have had job security? Was he trying to wait more than 16 weeks to respond to me? Or possibly because I took my paid family, I lost my job security? I should also say my co-worker told me he had hired more than one person during this time,
    I filed for unemployment. I was denied. They said I quit my job. I received a form in the mail addressed from the restaurant. It was my husbands signature under a heading that stated: Employee voluntarily quits job. It was even dated my last day of work. When my husband went in to pick up my last paycheck, they had him sign his name in order to take my check. I don’t know if they added to it after he signed or not. He doesn’t remember. But it is his signature.
    I’ve appealed the decision for unemployment. And I have a hearing next week. Will I be eligible for unemployment with my husband signing a document like that?
    I’m obviously confused by the laws regarding maternity and disability, but I feel this is discrimination.

  • #2
    You need to file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. It seems your employer did not properly notify you of your rights under Pregnancy Disability Leave. Although you are not eligible for CFRA, being that your employer is too small, you are entitled to up to 4 months of job protected leave under PDL for any period of actual disability. When did your doctor officially release you from disability?

    As for the unemployment, all you can do is appear at the hearing, bring your husband with you as a witness, and tell the truth. Bring all of your emails as evidence. No one can predict what will happen, but if you have an email from your boss telling you there is no more work, I can't see how you'll lose the appeal.

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    • #3
      I had some minor issues, but I was officially signed off disability 6 weeks and 3 days after the birth of my daughter(this was send to my employer) I began asking via email about the schedule approximately 2-3 weeks after he received the release.

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      • #4
        Did your boss give you any information about PDL? Were there any posters in the workplace describing PDL?

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        • #5
          I was passed a pamphlet on CSDI by the bookkeeper 3 days before I took my leave. Nothing else. And no, there are no posters or anything. I just listened to what my boss had said. I assumed I would be back on the schedule after I had exhausted my benefits. I gave him almost 4 weeks notice. And he had already received my medical release. I guess he just hoped I would go away, or wait longer than 16 weeks before contacting him.

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          • #6
            Since you were not eligible for CFRA your job protection technically ended after you were released from disability. However if an employer fails to give proper notice of PDL, they are precluded from taking any adverse employment action against the employee.

            Definitely file a complaint with the DFEH.

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            • #7
              I've filed a complaint with DFEH. What happens next? I do not want my old job back if it's offered.

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              • #8
                http://www.dfeh.ca.gov:80/DFEH/Compl...Complaint.aspx
                Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

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