Category: Pregnancy Discrimination

Employees Sue the Most in…

This month, a Hiscox survey revealed the states that employees tend to sue employers the most. The reason for these states higher than normal rates is attributed to state-wide labor codes that supersede federal laws in terms of harsher penalties and repercussions.  So who, what, and where?

Coming in at #5 is the state of Georgia. Georgia’s sue rates are 18% higher than other parts of the country. Tied at #4 are Arizona and Mississippi. Both states see, on average, 19% more lawsuits by employees than the national average.

Alabama rings in at #3 with a 25% above average chance that an employee will sue the employer for violations of labor law. Illinois edges out Alabama for the #2 spot with 26% higher average.

And the state that beats them all? Well, California of course! California is #1 with businesses facing a 43% higher chanced of being sued than the national average. California has employee stricter employee protections put in place as compared to other states in the country. The Fair Employment and Housing Act protects from various discrimination risks and covers companies with five or more employees as opposed to the nation’s 15 employee minimum.

The fives lowest suing states are: Massachusetts, Michigan, Kentucky, Washington, and West Virginia.

Pier 1 Poised to be Sued

A class action discrimination lawsuit was filed against home retailer Pier 1 Imports, Inc. on Wednesday in Santa Clara County Superior Court. The suit alleges that Pier 1 is inherently discriminatory in their leave policies towards pregnant employees.

Kimberly Erin Caselman is at the head of this lawsuit. She is a Pier 1 sales associate in San Jose who is expecting her second child. She informed her boss last fall that she was 2 months pregnant, and on the recommendation of her obstetrician, Caselman was placed on “light duty.” She could not lift objects heavier than 15 pounds or climb latters

When the eight weeks of light duty came a close, Caselman asked her employer for an extension for light duty. Pier 1 refused. Instead, as per policy, once the light duty ran out, she was placed on an unpaid medical leave which constituted her maternity leave. The issue at hand here was that since Pier 1 put Caselman on maternity leave when she was only 4 months pregnant, her leave would end before she even had her child.

Therefore, Caselman was expected back at work in May of this year. The baby is not due until July 7th. Caselman’s attorneys assert that if the light duty accommodation was extended, then Caselman would be able to go out on leave in a timely manner. But now, Caselman is afraid she will be fired if she does not go back in May, even though she will be in the height of her pregnancy.

In California, there are certain safeguards put in place to prevent discrimination against pregnant employees in the workforce. If you feel you have been subjected to discrimination, contact an Aegis attorney.

Source: Los Angeles Times

Don’t Take Me Out to the Ball Game—I Just Had a Kid!

The New York Mets second baseman, Daniel Murphy, just celebrated the birth of his son. But some are not as happy as he is. New York sports radio host, Mike Francesa, controversially slammed the player for taking a collectively bargained paternity leave from the MLB.

According to the leave policies that were agreed upon in 2011, Murphy may take up to 1-3 days of paternity leave. Murphy elected to take the full three days so he could travel to Florida where his wife, Tori, was giving birth. Because of his leave, he missed his second straight game, but is expected back for tonight’s game against the Nationals. Not a big deal right? Well according to Mike Francesa, the leave was wrong. Taking time off to bond with your newborn son, wrong. Why you may ask?

Francesa slammed Murphy for taking advantage of the paternity leave. The radio host called the leave policy a “scam and a half.” He asserted that Murphy should go “one day, go see the baby be born and come back. You’re a Major League Baseball player. You can hire a nurse to take care of the baby if your wife needs help.”

He further said, “What are you going to do? I mean are you going to sit and look at your wife in a hospital bed for two days?…you know that you’re not doing much the first couple of days with the baby that was just born.”

When Francesa found out his co-workers had taken up to 10 days paternity leave, his harsh response was: “for what? To take pictures?” Since, Francesa has been highly criticized for his outdated views on parental responsibility. One male caller said to the host, “Society has come to a point where we recognize this is the most important milestones and it’s important to be with you family.”

Paternity leave is becoming more and more prevalent in workplace policies. Each state differs in their laws. If you have questions about CA paternity leave laws, and feel you have been objected to adverse employment actions, contact an attorney immediately.

Landmark Hobby Lobby Case Could Establish For-Profit Religious Boundaries

Under federal law, women are now covered for birth control, despite the provider. Hobby Lobby, a craft retail store giant whose closest competitor is Michaels Crafts stores, is challenging that provision. Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments pertaining to this central question: “Can bosses, who have a religious objection to birth control, deny their female employees contraceptives coverage?”

The case is unique because the employer or entity is not a religious organization, rather Hobby Lobby is a private, secular, for-profit business. Opponents of Hobby Lobby are highly critical of a person’s subjective ability to determine benefits for an employee. “Where will this end?…What could be next? Could our bosses decide on religious grounds that they don’t want to offer us vaccinations?” said Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

The Supreme Court will determine, if, in fact, a company can exercise religion or invoke religious beliefs. Empirically, courts have ruled the opposite. “No matter how sincere the religious belief, they cannot be invoked to discriminate against someone.” For instance, a company cannot refuse benefits to a single mother because, on religious grounds, the boss believes a woman cannot be the head of a household.

This case has the potential to shake up a company’s role and ability in determining the livelihood of its employees.

What About the Daddys?

In October of 2013, a male CNN reporter filed a complaint with the EEOC against CNN’s parent company, Time Warner Cable, regarding discriminatory paternity leave practices by the company. As per Time Warner Cable’s company policy, women are entitled to take up to 10 weeks paid leave in the form of a maternity leave. In other instances, the company allows for men and women to take similar 10 week leaves if they are involved in an adoption or surrogacy process. However, men who are the biological parent of a new born are only entitled to 2 weeks unpaid time off.

Under Title VII, women are protected for pregnancy and childbirth, and since men cannot get pregnant, they are not afforded the same protection for childbirth, however, there cannot be such a disparity when it comes to other kinds of leave, like for caregiving purposes.

If the EEOC rules in the CNN employee’s favor, it may, potentially, change the landscape of paternity leaves supplied by employers.