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LawTalk
LawTalk, Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 27889
Experience:  I have 30 years of experience in the practice of law, including employment law and discrimination law.
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I recently had a baby and was on maternity leave. When my leave

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I recently had a baby and was on maternity leave. When my leave was over I tried to return to work but the stress of leaving a new baby who previously was only nursed and had not taken well to bottles triggered postpartem depression. I was a wreck while at work and I spoke with the owner of the company about temporarily reducing my hours to part-time and was told by him to write up a formal request and then discuss it with my direct supervisor. I also talked to my doctor about requesting a temporary change in hours. He questioned my ability to work at all but I explained that I feared losing my job if I didn't return to work. I spoke with my direct supervisor the next day and she refused to allow the part-time hours. I asked about extending my leave. She told me to bring paperwork from my doctor and then we could discuss it further. I told my doctor that they would not allow me to reduce my hours and he wrote me out on disability for a month with another appointment scheduled a few days before the month was over to see if I was feeling any better and determine whether I needed more time. I gave the disability certificate to my supervisor and she said that they would only allow me two more weeks and then they would replace me if I couldn't come back. The company I work for is small with only about 12 employees. Someone who already works there had been filling in for me. The work was getting done with no problem. Since there is less than 50 people, most of the laws for extended leave don't apply. I felt it was reasonable for me to return part- time and that it would be a reasonable accommodation. Worrying about losing my job is just making things worse. My husband is only a temporary employee and my job is the only permanent one. If I don't return by June 18, I will be fired. I signed an arbitration agreement when I was hired. Is there anything I can do?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 2 years ago.
Good morning,

I'm sorry to hear of the situation. Presuming that when you say you just came back from maternity leave, you meant the typical 6 to 8 weeks that most mother take off, then you are in luck and you do have a legal remedy.

Under CA law, you are entitled to Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) in which you can take up to 4 months off. While the PDL leave requires that your position be held during the up to four months' absence. It does not mean that your employer must pay you during that time.

The Pregnancy Disability Leave law applies so long as your employer has at least 5 employees!

Here are links to important information about this pregnancy leave program:

http://pregnancy.lovetoknow.com/wiki/California_Maternity_Leave

http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/res/docs/publications/DFEH-100-20.pdf

http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/publications/cwr_ch5.pdf


I hope that you found my answer informative, that you are accepting of my efforts and that you will rate my efforts based on the knowledge I have provided to you.

I wish you the best in 2012.

Thank you.

Doug
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have taken all the time allowable under the law for PDL but I still need more time to recover from the postpartum depression. They weren't willing to accommodate me at all even though it wouldn't cause any additional cost for the company or affect the successful execution of my job. With PDL maxed out, is there anything I can do?
Expert:  LawTalk replied 2 years ago.
Good morning,

I'm sorry, but if you have used all of the PDL available, there is no additional protection available, and your employer is not obligated to grant you any more leave, and may replace you if you are unable to return to work.

You may well eligible for State Disability benefits as your physician seems willing to disabled you---but your position is no longer protected. I'm sorry.

I understand that you may be disappointed by the Answer you received, as it was not particularly favorable to your situation, nor was it what I sensed you were hoping to hear. Had I been able to provide an Answer which might have given you a successful legal outcome, it would have been my pleasure to do so.

Because I help people here, like you, for a living---this is not a hobby for me, and I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX abiding by the honor system as regards XXXXX XXXXX I wish you and your family the best in your respective futures.

Would you be so kind as to Accept my Answer so that I may be compensated for assisting you? Bonuses for greatly informative and helpful answers are very much appreciated. Thanks Again,

Doug

LawTalk, Attorney
Satisfied Customers: 27889
Experience: I have 30 years of experience in the practice of law, including employment law and discrimination law.
LawTalk and 2 other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

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