Q: Can't Hire For Driver Job Because She's Pregnant?
My girlfriend wants to get a job as delivery driver with the company I work for. My boss said, "HR just told me that our auto insurance will not cover your girl because she is pregnant. So driving wouldn't even be an option,..." Is this even legal?
A: No, that is not legal and I frankly doubt the insurer would take such a position.
Being pregnant does not disable a woman from driving. Absent a disability that restricts a woman from driving, it is unlawful to preclude a woman from getting a job because she is pregnant. Such a position violates the Fair Employment and Housing Act and is the equivalent of saying she cannot be hired because she is a woman.
Good luck to you and to her.
A: I want to take this opportunity to supplement Mr. Pedersen's response for two reasons. First, because you are asking the question and not your girlfriend. I am always reluctant to give advice to someone who will obviously have to transmit the advice to someone else. We have no way of knowing what you might tell your girlfriend, and consequently the possibility of passing legal advice to someone else is fraught with danger. You may have the best of intentions, but you could add or omit some important information which could have adverse effects on the listener.
Secondly, your girlfriend is the aggrieved party here, and unless she is willing to take action to protect her own rights, what good is the advice you get? Something for you to just file away for a future date which may never come? I have encountered this situation in the past, and learned valuable lessons from it. I've had husbands insist on fighting legal claims for their spouses, only to learn later that the spouse had really good reasons for not wanting to pursue her own claims. Like the husband learning the hard way that the harassment the wife was experiencing was neither unwelcome nor unwanted. Or the case of the husband and wife who were both supposed to be unable to get pregnant, yet the wife later did get pregnant even though she had her tubes tied and her husband had a vasectomy. Later, when hubby sued the doctor who performed the vasectomy, the doctor was able to establish that the wife was having sex with another man, and the other guy got her pregnant. Meaning the husband's vasectomy had nothing to do with it.
The lesson is that I always avoid giving second hand advice. But if your gf asked, I would tell her to file a claim for sex discrimination against your employer with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) for refusing to hire her because she is pregnant. UNLESS, of course, the job description of delivery driver includes having to lift and carry heavy objects, which could endanger her pregnancy. That alone might be a bona fide disqualifying factor.
Maurice Mandel II agrees with this answer
A: First, good luck with the expected baby! I agree completely with both colleagues responses, but there is also another issue, the insurance company. Understanding and agreeing with the warnings about second hand legal opinions, there is a problem with an insurance company refusing to insure a person because they are pregnant. The law that prohibits an employer from discrimination is the FEHA, noted by my colleague. The law that prohibits discrimination in business dealings is called the Unruh Civil Rights Act and is found at Civil Code 51, et seq. It would prohibit an insurance company from discriminating in business against a female because she was pregnant, so long as she otherwise qualified for insurance.
Being pregnant can be difficult, but the law recognizes rights for the expectant mother (other than the right to want to eat pickles and ice cream at 2 AM) not only in the area of gender discrimination, but also in the area of Physical Disability Discrimination, which is one of the things that Mr. Fazzi alludes to when he discusses lifting packages posing a potential health hazard. There is an old case from the Supreme Court called Johnson Controls, Inc., 499 U.S. 187 (1991). The battery company had a "fetal protection policy" that refused to allow expectant mothers to work in a toxic area. The Supreme Court stated this was a violation of the law against sex discrimination. So the potential "danger to the fetus or mother" rule could run afoul of that law.
Filing a complaint for investigation with the DFEH is a free way to go. They have a website that you can do it on.
You should have your girlfriend contact a local attorney specializing in women's rights in employment.
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