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Many people believe bonding with a baby happens automatically. Realistically, it can take time to bond. Do not worry about rushing back to work too soon. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, new parents may be eligible for 12 weeks of leave for the child’s care. You can work on the bond between you and your baby during this time.

When it comes to baby bonding, there are several ways to increase your connection.

Sleep in the same room with your baby

Try to share as much time with the baby as possible. In the hospital, ask for your baby to sleep in the same room. If you have a premature baby, your child may be in the NICU for some time. Ask the hospital staff for extra time to touch and hold them. Not only can this increase healing, but it can help the bond increase between you and the child. Just talking with babies can help with the bond.

Keep contact with your child

Your touch and voice is reassuring to your new baby. Spend as much time as you can with your baby, holding him or her and speaking softly. Gentle rocking and singing can comfort children. In addition, massage can also improve the relationship between parents and infants. For premature infants, it relieves stress and may be able to ease postpartum depression in mothers.

Kangaroo care, or skin-to-skin contact can also help with newborns. The baby should have as much skin on skin contact as possible. This can help calm babies and can also improve breastfeeding.

Even if you have difficulty bonding after childbirth, you can increase your relationship with your child.

Pregnancy should be a joyous time in your life in which you are able to work but also prepare for the birth of your child. While some pregnancies are straightforward, others can come with complications early on. This can mean that some people who are pregnant need to take time off work throughout their pregnancy.

If you are dealing with severe morning sickness or ongoing medical issues due to your pregnancy, you may worry about whether this extended time off work will have a negative impact on your work. For example, you may be concerned that your employer will deem you to be unreliable or that they will terminate your employment. It is important that you are aware of your rights as a pregnant employee and that you take action to assert your rights when appropriate. The following is an overview of why pregnancy complications should never affect your career.

Discrimination cannot occur based on pregnancy

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate based on pregnancy regarding any aspect of employment. This means that pregnancy cannot be taken into consideration when an employer makes hiring, firing or salary decisions. In the same way, an employer cannot make job assignment decisions based on a person’s pregnancy. Therefore, if you feel that you are not progressing in your career in the way that you deserve because of your pregnancy, you may be able to take legal action against your employer.

Pregnancy complications count as temporary disability

If you are suffering from a medical condition due to your pregnancy such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes or severe morning sickness, you are classed as having a temporary disability under the law. This means that your employer may need to provide reasonable accommodations for you, and your job will be protected.

Make sure that you take action to protect your career if you believe that you are being discriminated against due to your pregnancy.

I read this article about pregnancy discrimination (I Was Fired for Being Pregnant – Yes, Really) the other day on the internet and I thought it was unfortunate that the author did not consult with us.  Many times employers misclassify employees as independent contractors – hence all the anti-discirmination laws that apply to employees may have applied to her.  Yet even if she was properly classified as an independent contractor, there are many other laws that apply to discrimination in the formation and performance of contractual relationships that may have let her recover for the loss of her work.  We have successfully represented many employees/independent contractors in pregnancy discrimination cases, and her case has the makings of particularly potent case.

Additionally, it is worth watching the “related video” that appears after the article regarding the woman terminated by text message.  Many cases of pregnancy discrimination involve such outrageous conduct as a manager texting a pregnant woman to inform her that she is terminated.  In fact, bad actors often send text messages to say things that they would not otherwise write and can be particularly valuable evidence of discrimination.

If something like this happens to you, you should give us a call to discuss.

How do you know if you’ve been discriminated against at work?

Sometimes it is obvious, because your employer overtly tells you something. For example, your employer might tell you that it won’t let you work because you are pregnant.

Sometimes, it is less obvious. For example, your employer starts micro-managing you after you revealed that you are pregnant. Or, for example, after disclosing your pregnancy, your managers begin providing you with negative feedback when before it was only positive. Another example might include writing you up for being late, when your co-workers arrive at the same time and they are not written up.

The New York Times did a very interesting piece on how pregnancy discrimination can manifest, and if you are not sure whether your employer is discriminating against you, we recommend reading the article.

If you believe that you may be the victim of discrimination and would like to discuss your situation with one of our attorneys, let us know. We are happy to discuss.

While most California residents undoubtedly want to feel joyous anticipation when they find out they are expecting a child, they may also have less happy feelings. In particular, working women may worry that their employers will treat them unfairly due to their conditions. While pregnancy issues often do not prevent women from working entirely, some employers do not feel the need to provide the necessary accommodations.

It was recently reported that multiple legal claims have been made in another state against Walmart. Two women indicated that they were fired from their jobs after they took time off of work to attend to pregnancy-related medical conditions. Walmart issued a statement in response to the claims which stated that they do not condone discrimination and deny the claims made against the company.

Unfortunately, pregnancy discrimination is a rampant issue in many companies. Reports indicated that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received over 3,000 pregnancy-related discrimination claims last year. While this is a real issue, proving these claims in court can be difficult without supporting evidence. Still, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act specifically works to protect pregnant individuals from unfair treatment.

Individuals who believe that they have been the victims of this type of mistreatment may want to determine what type of information could help support their claims. California workers may want to consult with legal professionals who can evaluate their cases and determine their best courses of action. Facing discrimination for pregnancy issues should not be tolerated, and parties may want to understand that they do have rights and options for addressing such wrongdoing.

Former Walmart store associates Leigha Klopp and Kaitlyn Hoover last week filed a class-action lawsuit in state Supreme Court claiming the Arkansas-based company’s absentee policy penalized them after they had to take time off for unscheduled pregnancy-related hospital visits, and violated their rights under state law.

Their suit joins a growing chorus of similar complaints nationwide, claiming that America’s largest retailer and numerous other large companies systematically punish pregnant employees with discriminatory policies and practices.

Walmart’s policy in particular “flouts New York’s pregnancy accommodation law by punishing pregnant workers for lawful absences,” said Dina Baskt, co-president and co-founder of worker advocacy group A Better Balance, which filed the suit July 24 on behalf of Klopp, Hoover and any other pregnant woman affected by what the suit claims is Walmart’s policy in New York state. “No pregnant worker, many fearing miscarriage, should be fired for seeking emergency medical care,” she added.

At issue in the suit is New York’s Pregnant Worker Fairness act, enacted in 2016, which requires employers to make “reasonable accommodations” for medical needs related to pregnancy unless such accommodations would create “undue hardship” on the employer. Those accommodations include providing limited time off or an altered schedule for medical visits.

This suit is the first class-action suit brought under the new law.

Baskt called on the company to “immediately change its policies to comply with this law and ensure that no pregnant worker is forced to choose between a healthy pregnancy and a pink slip.”

In an emailed statement on Thursday, Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove disputed that company policies codify discrimination but said the company would look into the women’s claims.

“We take these issues seriously and do not tolerate discrimination,” he said. “Like any company, we have an attendance policy that helps ensure we are taking care of our customers. We understand associates may have to miss work on occasion and we have processes in place to assist them. This includes legally protected and authorized absences, such as medical-related accommodation, FMLA leave, pregnancy and bereavement that are not counted against our attendance policy.”

Leigha’s story

A 2015 graduate of Albion High School, Leigha Klopp landed a job at Walmart in October 2016, making $9.75 per hour. She worked in the apparel department, typically folding and organizing clothing during her shifts and filling in at other departments on an as-needed basis.

According to the lawsuit, Walmart’s disciplinary policy at the time was that employees would accumulate so-called “points” each time they missed a scheduled shift, arrived late or left early without advance approval from a supervisor. Under the scheme, hourly employees like Klopp and Hoover would get one point for each full shift missed, and a half-point for each incomplete shift or tardiness.

If an employee accumulated four points during their first six months of employment, they could be fired. After probation, employees who accumulated nine points during any rolling six-month period were at risk of being fired, according to the court documents.

Although Klopp and fiancé Jakob Kenward hadn’t been trying, it was a happy surprise when they learned she was pregnant in late December 2016.

“It was scary because it wasn’t planned, but we were making the best of the situation,” she said.

On a Friday afternoon in mid-January 2017, while organizing her store’s shoe department, Klopp was suddenly overcome by dizziness and started having cramps.

“It got to the point where I couldn’t stand, I couldn’t physically work, I was in tears,” said Klopp. “I was terrified. I was scared something was wrong, and my first instinct was that I had to go to the hospital.”

A coworker summoned her supervisor.

“I told the supervisor I was pregnant and having a lot of pain and cramps and I’m worried that I’m miscarrying,” she said.

The manager told her to go, but said she’d be docked a half-point for leaving early.

She went to an area hospital, where doctors provided her intravenous fluids and anti-nausea medications and gave her a note putting her out of work for the next three days.

When she returned to work, according to the suit, managers refused to accept it and gave her a half-point for leaving early on Friday.

A few weeks later, Klopp said, she awoke nauseated, thinking she’d only throw up, and then go in to work.

“But when I vomited it was bloody, so I immediately called my OB/GYN and she said you have to go to the hospital,” said Klopp. “I said, but I have to work or I’ll get fired. And she said, ‘It’s not a question.’ ”

In her lawsuit, Klopp said when she called the Walmart store that morning to report that she was going to take her doctor’s advice, the manager told her if she didn’t make her shift that day, she’d have “too many points” and would be terminated.

With a doctor’s note in hand to excuse her absence, Klopp returned to Walmart a few days later for her next scheduled shift. But, she said, the bosses refused to take the document, walked her to the main office and fired her.

“They asked me to hand in my vest and my badge and to clean out my locker,” she said. “It felt very unfair that I was being punished for something that wasn’t in my control and that the employers just didn’t care about me as a person, or my family or what I was going through.”

According to the suit, if company officials had excused Klopp’s pregnancy-related illnesses, she would not have been fired.

Reasonable accommodations

Circumstances were similar for Kaitlyn Hoover, who was fired in March 2017 after severe nausea, vomiting and dehydration in the early weeks of her pregnancy resulted in her missing work due to a brief hospitalization, according to the lawsuit.

When Hoover returned to her store for her next scheduled shift, she too was told her absence was not excusable, that the company doesn’t accept doctor’s notes and was summarily fired.

“I was devastated when Walmart fired me. I had a baby coming and all of a sudden I couldn’t pay my bills,” said Hoover in a written statement. “I am bringing this lawsuit because what happened to me was wrong and I want to make sure that Walmart is held accountable so that other pregnant women won’t be treated like I was.”

New York’s pregnant worker protection act requires employers to make “reasonable accommodations” for medical needs related to pregnancy, unless it would create an undue hardship or if the employee cannot, with accommodation, perform the activities of her job in a reasonable manner. The law says an employer may request a health care provider’s note to verify the existence of the pregnancy-related condition.

Examples of reasonable accommodations include: bathroom, food or drink breaks; allowing an employee to carry a water bottle; dress code flexibility; limits on lifting requirements; transfer to a less-strenuous shift, position or work location; limited time off or altered schedule for medical visits; and a reduced schedule.

The women’s lawsuit alleges that when Walmart employees phone in to report an absence, “they are consistently told that absences for pregnancy-related conditions cannot be authorized and that they will incur points if they cannot appear for their scheduled shift.”

They claim their managers never considered whether they should make accommodations for them even though time off to seek medical attention or recover from pregnancy-related conditions is “explicitly contemplated as a reasonable accommodation under the PWFA,” according to the suit.

In October 2017, Walmart revised its policies to allow employees who are pregnant, breastfeeding or recovering from childbirth to ask for job adjustments, reasonable accommodations or a temporary transfer to a different position.

Walmart has 30 days to respond to the suit filed by Klopp and Hoover.

Not just Walmart

Across the country, Walmart is facing similar lawsuits and other legal actions. A federal judge recently denied the company’s bid to dismiss a different class action suit filed that alleges the company refused to accommodate medically-imposed lifting restrictions for two pregnant employees in Illinois and Florida.

And Walmart is not alone. Other major businesses under fire for alleged pregnancy discrimination include pharmaceutical companies Merk & Co., Novartis, AT&T, Whole Foods, 21st Century Fox, and the auditing firm KPMG.

In June, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo even directed the state Division of Human Rights to investigate past and present claims made against Walmart, Merck, Novartis and commodity traders Glencore.

“New York leads the nation in advancing equal rights, and these actions will build on our proud record to help ensure women have equal opportunities to succeed in the workplace,” he said in a press release announcing the move. “Discrimination against those who are pregnant is illegal, and we will hold employers who violate the law fully accountable.”

Source, https://leclerclecldev.wpengine.com/wp-contentchicago.suntimes.com/working/walmart-employees-leigha-klopp-kaitlyn-hoover-allege-pregnancy-discrimination, Chicago Sun Times, July 30, 2018.

Most women have goals in life that they hope to achieve. Some of those goals may involve career success, and others many involve starting a family. For many women, it is not unusual to have both of these goals in mind. While the majority of career women are perfectly capable of balancing work duties, pregnancy and motherhood, many expectant and new mothers face discrimination on the job.

It may interest California readers to know that there are laws in place that work to protect pregnant women or those who intend to become pregnant from discriminatory actions. A woman cannot be dismissed from her job simply for being pregnant, and women applying for jobs cannot be passed over because they are pregnant or plan to have children in the future. Unfortunately, laws do not always prevent employers from acting unfairly.

Many women can provide examples of facing this type of discrimination on the job. One woman stated that she needed accommodations at work due to morning sickness and being unable to lift heavy objects while pregnant, but rather than being given accommodations, her supervisor indicated that she should take unpaid leave. Other women have also endured comments in which their employers tell them that their careers will not progress because they are pregnant or have children.

Unfair treatment is something that affects many people throughout their lives. When it comes to employment situations, discrimination should not be tolerated. If California employees or prospective employees believe that they were fired, passed over for a job or otherwise mistreated due to pregnancy, they may wish to explore their legal options.

It is not unusual for most women to be asked when they plan on having children. For some California residents, the answer is never or not soon. Others may happily announce that they are pregnant or planning to conceive soon. Though those in the latter categories may feel excited about pending motherhood, they may have apprehensions about facing unfair treatment on the job due to pregnancy discrimination.

Just like many other forms of discrimination, treating a pregnant employee or new mother unfairly is against the law. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act works to protect employees and prospective employees from discriminatory actions during any part of the employment process, including during application reviews and interviews. It also protects workers from being forced to continue their work-related duties if they are unable.

If pregnancy or childbirth results in an employee being temporarily unable to fulfill her typical work duties, the employer should assess the situation as he or she would with any other temporarily disabled employee. This action also includes providing temporary paid or unpaid leave to an employee disabled by pregnancy or childbirth if that same leave would be provided to any other temporarily disabled employee. However, an employer may require that a doctor’s notes are provided before making accommodations.

No one wants the joyous occasion of expecting a child or recently having a child marred by pregnancy discrimination at work. Unfortunately, not everyone escapes such unfair treatment. If workers in California believe that they were treated unfairly on the job or during the hiring process due to pregnancy, childbirth or related issues, they may wish to explore their legal options for seeking justice.

When many people think of discrimination in the workplace, they may first consider race and gender discrimination. What they may not more fully consider is a form of gender discrimination relating to pregnancy. In fact, some California workers may have faced negative impacts to their jobs due to what employers perceived as pregnancy issues.

Unfortunately, pregnancy discrimination is a serious issue, and many women can give accounts of facing unfair treatment at their places of employment due to being pregnant. In fact, some individuals have even lost their jobs because of their pregnancies. One worker cried on shift after being yelled at by a customer and was soon fired for being “too emotional,” while another woman faced dismissal after looking to obtain information regarding maternity leave.

For the past four years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission office in one city has received nearly 50 complaints annually in relation to pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. Additionally, many instances of this type of mistreatment do not get reported. Workers may not realize that their employers have acted illegally, or they may not know what steps to take in order to address their concerns.

If California residents feel that their employers are using pregnancy issues as reasons to treat them unfairly, they may want to find out more information on their legal options. In some cases, workers may have reason to take action in order to have the mistreatment rectified. Individuals interested in this type of information may wish to speak with knowledgeable employment law attorneys.

Source: nondoc.com, “Pregnancy discrimination: ‘People don’t realize it’s a problem’“, April 23, 2018

Pregnancy can often bring about mixed emotions for many California residents. Though learning the news may bring great joy, it may also cause apprehensions. Parents-to-be may worry about possible complications that could arise, and many women may worry about pregnancy issues that could come up in regard to their employment. Discriminating against pregnant women is against the law, but only under certain conditions.

If an employer has at least 15 employees, he or she cannot discriminate against pregnant workers. However, an employer may still ask intrusive questions about the pregnancy or potential pregnancy. For instance, individuals may find themselves caught off guard if their bosses suddenly ask if they are trying to conceive a child. While this question may seem too personal for the workplace, it is legal for an employer to ask.

Additionally, the employer may ask if workers will still be able to carry out their work-related duties. This question may come from a place of concern because a pregnant worker may place herself or others at risk if the pregnancy prevents her from performing her duties properly. As a result, the worker could be placed in a different position but should not be fired or demoted.

While some questions may be prudent to ask in terms of safety, many California workers may wonder if certain questions may be allowing employers to take pregnancy issues into consideration when hiring or during other job-related tasks. If individuals believe this may be the case, they may wish to remind their bosses that such considerations are unlawful. If individuals have faced negative repercussions on the job due to pregnancy or potential pregnancy, they may wish to find out more information on their legal options for addressing such issues.

Source: romper.com, “What Questions Is Your Workplace Allowed To Ask About Your Pregnancy? Here’s What Every Woman Should Know“, Steph Montgomery, Jan. 2, 2018

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