Numerous Acts and laws have been passed at both the Federal and State levels to protect employees from mistreatment from their employers.
There have been many lawsuits filed against those companies that have discriminated against their workers, wrongfully terminated them, or retaliated against them for certain actions. Retaliation is one of the most frustrating occurrences that can happen to an employee.
Workers may believe that they are abiding by their rights or acting appropriately only to face repercussions from their companies. It is wrong for companies to feel as though they must lash out and fight back against their workers, especially if they have acted illegally or with discrimination and unfairness. It is especially common for individuals to suffer retaliation after taking leave to care for family members.
Violations under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) can be grounds for lawsuits. You may want to guarantee that you were retaliated against before you take any legal action, though – and to ensure that you are adequately understanding of the law and what you must do, you can read below. Employment Attorney Group has provided key information for you to absorb so you can determine whether or not your employer retaliated against you.
What are the CFRA and the FMLA?
The CFRA and FMLA are State and Federal (respectively) Acts that are meant to provide workers with ample leave for certain situations. These Acts are applied to private employers that have over 50 employees working for them within a 75 mile radius. In addition, California employers who have over 20 employees are subjected to the New Parent Leave Act (NPLA).
The Acts allow workers to take protected time off from work to bond with a newborn or newly acquired child, to care for a sick or injured family member, to tend to the employee’s own sickness, and more. Eligible employees are those who have been employed for at least 12 months and have worked 1,250 hours within those 12 months. An additional law pertains to Pregnancy Disability Leave, which allows mothers a maximum of four months to stay home to recover from her pregnancy. The leave for all the acts is unpaid. Further, the leave is protected and employees who return from it are guaranteed to return to their same positions or comparable ones. California law pertaining to the CFRA can be found in Title 2, Division 3, Part 2.8, Chapter 6, Article 1, 12945.2 of California’s Government Code:
(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), it shall be an unlawful employment practice for any employer, as defined in paragraph (2) of subdivision (c), to refuse to grant a request by any employee with more than 12 months of service with the employer, and who has at least 1,250 hours of service with the employer during the previous 12-month period, to take up to a total of 12 workweeks in any 12-month period for family care and medical leave. Family care and medical leave requested pursuant to this subdivision shall not be deemed to have been granted unless the employer provides the employee, upon granting the leave request, a guarantee of employment in the same or a comparable position upon the termination of the leave. The commission shall adopt a regulation specifying the elements of a reasonable request.
With respect to retaliation, it says:
(L) It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to refuse to hire, or to discharge, fine, suspend, expel, or discriminate against, any individual because of any of the following: (1) An individual’s exercise of the right to family care and medical leave provided by subdivision (a). (2) An individual’s giving information or testimony as to the individual’s own family care and medical leave, or another person’s family care and medical leave, in any inquiry or proceeding related to rights guaranteed under this section.
What is considered Retaliation under California law and the CFRA?
Retaliation is generally any action that is done by your employer to get back at you for how you behaved, choices you made, leave you took, requests you made, and more.
Common forms of retaliation include:
- Demoted from your position
- Unnecessary or unwarranted disciplinary action, such as write-ups and warnings
- Reduction in salary
- Cut hours or shifts
- Refusal to reinstate to an old position or any position at all
- Job reassignment or alteration to job duties
- Targeted harassment and discrimination
- Wrongful termination or firing
Therefore, if you got pregnant during a busy time at your job and said that you planned to take maternity leave on a certain date, your employer cannot deliberately mistreat you. He cannot deliberately create job duties that would purposely drive you to resign or quit, and he cannot hire someone else to take over your position so that you would be butted out of the company upon returning. Retaliation can take on many forms, and if you experience mistreatment at any point before, during, or after your leave, you should take legal action.