Employees who go on maternity leave have legal protection against discrimination. They have the right to be treated equally and fairly. There are common maternity leave violations in Pinellas County, Florida, that can cause significant difficulties to family life, careers, and financial stability. When employers decide to break the law, they should be held accountable.
At Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A., we stand up for maternity leave rights, leading as legal advocates to help women and their families when employers violate the law.
Pinellas County Pregnancy Laws & Maternity Leave Rights
Even though employers are not mandated to give employees paid maternity leave, most workers have substantial maternity rights under federal and state law, which includes the right to take unpaid leave from their job. These pregnancy laws and maternity rights apply to Pinellas County workers and employees across the state.
Here are the laws you should be aware of that provide protections against common maternity leave violations in Pinellas County, Florida:
Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) — eligible workers have the right to take up to 12 weeks per year of unpaid leave in total during pregnancy (for prenatal care or medical reasons) and after childbirth to recuperate and care for the baby. Parental leave is available for women and men and applies to biological children, adopted children, and foster children. Married parents working for the same employer may be limited to 12 weeks total combined per year.
Eligibility for FMLA: Employees must work for an employer with at least 50 employees in a 75-mile radius of their worksite for at least 20 weeks in the current or previous year. Employees must also have been at the employer for at least one year, working at least 1,250 hours during the previous year.
Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA)— provides protection from discrimination against an employee in their terms of employment due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions. The act also requires employers to treat you equally as they would someone with a temporary disability, such as providing reasonable accommodations in the workplace.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) — requires employers to pay females and males equally for the same work. In this context, employers cannot pay a female worker less because they think she may be pregnant or get pregnant.
The Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 — this state law provides back up to federal laws, providing protections against workers against discrimination in the workplace. The act includes protections against discrimination based on national origin, race or color, sex, pregnancy, disability, religion, or familial status.
These laws are used in legal claims against employers for common maternity leave violations in Pinellas County, Florida.
Types of Maternity Leave Violations in Pinellas County
Workers who take maternity leave can face various types of violations. Here are some common violations of maternity leave rights:
- Harassment – verbal or physical acts, derogatory statements or jokes, harassing emails, or other types of communications, including derogatory media, creating a hostile work environment.
- Discrimination – treating an employee differently from other employees because they take maternity leave, such as reduction in pay, giving them additional duties not in the original job description, giving them difficult schedules other employees do not have, and not providing reasonable accommodations.
- Demotion – demoting the employee to a lower position when they come back to work because they became pregnant and went on maternity leave.
- Termination – firing someone when they take or when they come back from maternity leave.
Even with the federal and state laws in place, employers continue to commit these common maternity leave violations in Pinellas County. One of the main reasons they do this is because they feel they can do what they want without respect for their employees’ rights and without repercussion.
These violations of maternity leave rights can occur across any industry and any level of employment, from entry-level to senior managers. But it is important to know that there are things you can do about it.
What to Do If You Are Dealing with FMLA Discrimination or Retaliation
You have agency in this situation. Multiple actions can be taken if you are dealing with FMLA discrimination or retaliation. One of the first things you should do is detail what happened, including any dates, times, locations, and what occurred.
For example, if it was a one-time occurrence, where you came back from maternity leave and your boss fired you on the spot, document as much detail as you can of the conversation, including any other communications, such as emails, related to your termination.
When harassment occurs, this often happens on multiple occasions and in various forms. As best as you can, document what is going on. Save any communications and media, and write down what was said – by who, when, and where. The sooner you can do this, the better.
Additionally, gather related employee documentation such as FMLA paperwork, paycheck stubs, schedules, job descriptions, employee handbooks, related HR documents, and any other types of documentation that could be relevant to your case.
Do not give up if you feel you do not have enough documentation. There could be much more available than you know, and legal professionals in employment law and maternity leave rights can help.
Do not delay. Contact an FMLA attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case.
Benefits of Hiring a Pinellas County FMLA Attorney
It is highly advised to hire a Pinellas County FMLA attorney to get the best outcome for your case. FMLA attorneys have extensive experience in maternity leave rights and pregnancy discrimination, and they also are skilled in standing up to powerful employers who disregard federal and state laws.
At Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A., we have a strong history of helping employees of Pinellas County when their rights have been violated. We are with you each step of the process and work aggressively to get a fair resolution to your case. Whether you may be looking to get your job back or need compensation for your employer’s egregious and unlawful behavior, we take the lead in fighting for your rights.
Contact us today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Please Note: At the time this article was written, the information contained within it was current based on the prevailing law at the time. Laws and precedents are subject to change, so this information may not be up to date. Always speak with a law firm regarding any legal situation to get the most current information available.