San Jose Woman Files Maternity Leave Lawsuit Against Pier 1

According to the Los Angeles Times, a San Jose woman has filed a lawsuit against Pier 1 after she was denied a medical extension during her pregnancy.

The Times reported that Kimberly Erin Caselman, a sales associated at Pier 1 in San Jose, informed her employer that her obstetrician told her not to lift any objects heavier than 15 pounds or climb ladders. Pier 1 reportedly responded by putting her on eight weeks of “light duty” at the retail store.

However, when the eight-week period ended, Caselman asked for an extension, which was denied by the company. In her lawsuit, filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court, Caselman claims that Pier 1 Imports Inc. refused to extend the accommodation. Instead, the company opted to put her on unpaid maternity leave for four months, which ends in May.

Caselman’s baby is not expected to be delivered until July. “It’s shocking,” Caselman told the Times. “They are having me exhaust all my leave before I need that leave. This is stressful financially and emotionally.”

Caselman’s attorneys contend that the tactic by Pier 1 was a violation of state law. California requires that an employer provide “reasonable accommodation for an employee for a condition related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition, if she so requests, with the advice of her healthcare provider.”

Caselman is afraid that when her maternity leave ends on May 20, if she does not return to work, the company will fire her.

What is Maternity Leave?

Maternity leave laws, like the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), include the variety of ways that pregnancy can affect a woman on the job.

According to the FEHA and CFRA, pregnancy leave requirements include the ability of a woman to ask to be transferred to a less physically demanding or dangerous position, if a physician advises it. They also require that a woman be placed back into her original position prior to her transfer or leave.

Do not let an employer illegally mistreat you because you are pregnant. If you suspect that you or loved one have been the victim of pregnancy discrimination, contact our office. A Los Angeles employment attorney will review your case.

Kesluk, Silverstein & JacobLos Angeles employment attorneys