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Discrimination Due To Pregnancy?

At the end of last year, there was an article published in the New York Times that illustrated how major companies are taking parental leave serious. Millennials are the biggest generation to hit the work force to date and they have high expectations for their future careers. They want to work for companies who offer accommodations for their employees that suit both genders. It will take a general 15 to 20 years for all companies to follow the pioneers of the workforce; however the competitive pressures in the labor market are pushing for greater independence and flexibility. These new ideals have the American economy in a tug of war with gender roles and the rise of two-income families

With the hours at work increasing, pushing for newer innovations and the faster advances, the absence of government policies like parental leave has left the working family juggling between family and careers at all income levels. White-collar workers are often anticipated to have a specific focus on work. For blue-collar workers in most companies, such a leave isn’t even available. Additionally, more than half of non-working families say that home responsibilities are a reason they are not working as found by a study done through the New York Times, CBSNEWS, and Kaiser Family Foundation Poll.

Driven by demographics and societal changes, women are rising to become managers and leaders which coincide with parental leave. They are confronting the inevitable push and pull of the work-family balance and the continual progression of parental gender roles have men seeking paid leave as well. If an employer offers paid maternity leave that is not classified as a medical disability resulting from pregnancy, it must offer that same leave to fathers or face employment discrimination liability under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 [1].

Does Florida have a Paid Family Leave?

America is facing a domestic crisis as it is the only developed country in the world that doesn’t require or even offer paid time off to new parents. While some states have adopted parental leave plans, Florida does not have a paid family leave plan. Nevertheless, it does enforce the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 or FMLA which states that companies must give qualifying employees at least 12 weeks of annual unpaid leave due to certain family-related or medical reasons. This applies to most employers with at least 50 or more employees as well as public agencies. Qualifying staff must have worked for the company for at least 1,250 hours for at least one year. Once the employee’s leave is over, the worker is entitled to reinstatement to the same position and while the employee is on leave, they are entitled to continuation of group health coverage [2]. However, because of it being unpaid, it is an unworkable option for most Americans. Additionally, the restriction in the amount of employees needed to guarantee such an absence, doesn’t cover employees at smaller firms or low-wage workers. In fact, only 12 percent of U.S. private sector workers have access to paid family leave through their employer.

Employees who are pregnant are protected from discrimination under the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act or PDA. This could also entitle employees for unpaid time off without fear of being fired or demoted upon return. This applies to biological children, adopted children and foster children. Once again while the bones are there for anti-discriminatory practices, this is unpaid and thus, cannot apply to most Americans.

Paid vs. Unpaid

According to the Huffington Post, studies show that mothers who use paid family leave are more likely to return to work after child birth. The greatest gains are among mothers with lower levels of education, unmarried mothers, Latina mothers, and African American mothers. Men who take two or more weeks off after the birth of a child are more involved than fathers who take no leave in the direct care of their children nine months later. Furthermore, paid maternity leave can increase the female labor force participation by making it easier for women to stay in the workforce after giving birth, which contributes to economic growth. When parents are better supported at work through paid family and medical leave, they are also less likely to rely on public assistance benefits. When parents don’t have paid family leave, 1 in 4 working moms have to return to work in less than two weeks after giving birth. This attributes to higher rates of depression and stress as well as their babies experiencing more health risks as they are breastfed less and brought to fewer medical appointments. Unpaid leave can also lead families into poverty as they are not able to coup with the losses suffered from a non-working parent [3]. With the few states who have supported paid maternity leave, these states reported positive or neutral experiences and very few negative effects [4]. As such, hopefully Florida will follow the trend. Until then, it’s important to know about your rights as an employee of a company in the state Florida.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA

Contact an experienced Clearwater, Florida employment law attorney for help today.

If you believe your employer has denied you FMLA leave reprehensively or discriminated against you because of your pregnancy, you may want to seek advice from an experienced employment lawyer. A lawyer can tell you whether your claim has merit and what steps to take to defend your rights. If you have been wrongfully denied a reasonable accommodation based on your parental duties or have suffered from unlawful discrimination due to your pregnancy, you should not delay in contacting an experienced employment lawyer at the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA today. Our attorneys are committed to helping employees stand up for their rights and we will always evaluate your case at no charge. Please contact our office in Clearwater, Florida today at (727) 451-6900 to discuss how we can help you.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
727-451-6900

https://www.dolmanlaw.com/legal-services/employment-law-attorneys//

References:

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/02/upshot/big-leaps-for-parental-leave-if-workers-actually-follow-through.html
[2] http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/
[3] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-wiener/fighting-for-full-paid-parental-leave_b_9612534.html
[4] http://www.dol.gov/wb/PaidLeave/PaidLeave.htm